Tweed River High's champion girls touch football team with coach Chris Swaddle.
Tweed River High's champion girls touch football team with coach Chris Swaddle. Blainey Woodham

Girls have the magic touch on the footy field

TWEED River High has the best girls' touch football team in the state.

Earlier this month the school's 13-strong team won the Years 7-8 NSW All Schools State Championships in Bathurst, beating 18 other regional winners.

Physical education teacher and touch coach Chris Swaddle said he couldn't be prouder of the team's efforts.

"I was ecstatic, just really, really happy for them," he said.

"They all worked incredibly hard to get there.

"Last year they went to the state championships and they didn't make the finals, so I think it was all the work they're putting in at school and outside of school."

Parents at the public school can bear a substantial cost when sending their kids to competitive sporting events, making the win against a medley of private schools on November 7 all the sweeter.

"The team we beat in the finals was Kildare Catholic College from Wagga Wagga," Mr Swaddle said.

"It's such a big thing because it's a lot of money to play and head out to touch competitions.

"Mostly it's funded by the parents, but we do have some help from certain organisations, Tweed Heads Bowls Club being just one of them."

The touch team beat out Kildare College 3-2 in the final minutes of the game.

When asked to name a few key players, Mr Swaddle couldn't go past the team's dedicated captain.

"Olivia Attenborough-Doyle, our captain, and Tarryn Aiken always play an excellent game," he said.

"They play a lot of top level touch and really know what they're doing.

"A lot of the girls will now go into Year 9, where NSW Touch runs a competition, and I'm hopeful they'll push to win the Years 9-10 title now."

Mr Swaddle said touch training was broken down into different elements for the wide range of specific talents possessed by the champion team.

"Because we've got such a broad range of talent we do some basic drills and movements and work on special moves for the field," he said.

"We've got a pretty good touch program at school in the sports development program and about half of the girls are part of that, and the other half play for our normal team."

The Tweed River boys' team also came close but was unable to take home a second championship for the Tweed Heads South school, finishing in fifth position.


  • Originating from rugby league, touch football replaces tackling with a touch.
  • Basic rules were established in the '60s by the South Sydney Junior Rugby League Club.
  • Touch started in Australia in '63 as a social game and as a training technique for league.
  • More than 400,000 registered touch players, 500,000 school kids, and up to 100,000 casual players play the sport.

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