State Cup 2023 Wrap

We had the largest contingent that Balmain has ever had playing at the NSW State Cup.

Let's hear from some of our teams' representatives on how their team went during the 3-day tournament.

Mens' Opens B

Mens Opens B team in action

Head Coach Mick McDonald's Last Word

The 2023 Balmain Tigers Mens Open side contested the Mens B division at Port Macquarie with the side led ably by captain Flynn Leaver and withstood the pressures of being a very young side with players Rory Leaver, Chase Smith, Ollie Quinn, Oscar Moore, Luke Broadbent and Xavier Kennif being elevated from the Vawdon Cup Youth League team into the high level Mens Open arena.

Despite being slightly overawed against Easts Div 1 in their first game (close 4-5 loss) the team moved on to beat Bankstown 2 and St George, whilst having a competitive loss to Norths Div 1. We were not able to match Parramatta 1 in the round game but scored 4 good touch downs against the eventual tournament winner.

The team finished 4 th in the pool round stage and played Doyalson Div 1 in the Sunday quarter final on Sunday morning in a highly competitive game, unfortunately an intercept touch down brought Doyalson back into the game and a late Tigers try right on fulltime took the game to a 4 on 4 drop off. Doyalson the Plate Winner beat a tired Tigers team 1-2 to advance.

Most valuable player award – Flynn Leaver, and whilst we can list numerous good performances, the team as a whole performed to a standard to make Balmain Tigers proud of the effort.

Special thanks to the Leaver family for taking the boys into their family accommodation which helped the team greatly.


Mens' Seniors (30s)

Mens' Seniors Team Photo

Head Coach Wayne Calleja's Last Word

One of the most enjoyable State Cup campaigns, containing a group of 10 Balmain Touch boys from circa 2010 now competing in the 30’s division. We finished with 3 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses in a brutal 9 game pool to test the aging bodies. A 7th place finish ultimately impacted by injuries to key players, but still didn’t dampen the spirits in what will be a State Cup that lives long in our memories.

Highlighted by some very significant milestones as well, with Colin Parsons and Ben Jones bringing up 100 representative games for Balmain. Alex Taberner, Steven Soong and Wayne Calleja also reaching 50 games played.

Thanks for your commitment to the club gents!


Womens' Opens B

Women's Opens B team photo

Assistant Coach Sharlene Wong's Last Word

Due to the unfortunate circumstance of head coach Paul Wines unable to make the trip up, it was up to the team to manage ourselves. With the help of Dilani Fahey, who was providing invaluable guidance from the box, the team managed to make it to the quarter finals of the Plate division. Considering we went down in all our games, our for and against (go defence!) was enough to get us into the finals. For a team with 8 State Cup debutants and a couple of them new to the sport of touch football, it was a great achievement and created some memorable moments for their first year. It was an eye-opening experience and fun to be had by all.

Led by Captain and Manager Tess Nelson, who flew in on Friday from New Zealand, and Vice-Captain Liv Chiu the team did better than expected. The lead up to the tournament was very haphazard with training being very challenging with not a whole lot of numbers, and trying to gel would always be a tough ask. We even had some meeting each other for the first time at the tournament. Considering this and the green-ness of the team, it was a remarkable achievement and the ladies hope to be back next year.

Special thanks to Paul Wines for turning up to every training session with whatever numbers we had, and staying committed through the lead up. You were missed, especially by me, in the box to give the girls the advice and guidance that they needed.


Womens' 20s

Women's Under 20s team photo

Head Coach Sharlene Wong's Last Word

This group of girls had a fantastic tournament. The gap from last year to this year was such a huge improvement, from just missing out on the Plate finals last year, to being in the Championship finals this year and going down to eventual winners, Manly. I was super impressed with their work ethic, their team camarderie and skill level. They worked for each other, and gave it their all. My highlights was knocking Doyalson over in the round game coming from 2-4 down to winning 5-4.

The main highlight, though, was matching it up with Manly. In the round game we went down 1-3, and in the quarter finals of the championship round we went down 2-4. They tried their best until the very end, and every player has improved so much and should be proud of how they carried themselves all tournament. I know they are all looking forward to next year and seeing if we can go one better. Well done, girls!

Special thanks to Leoni Barnett for being a top-notch manager and looking after the girls while Aka and I were not there. Thanks to Aka for taking up the bulk of the coaching while I was elsewhere, and lastly a huge thank you to the parents for bringing their talented kids to the tournament and supporting us through all our games.


Womens' Seniors (30s)

Womens' Seniors (30s) team photo

Captain Dilani Fahey's Last Word

Before the initial tap off first day at 8am, the women's 30's team faced numerous injuries, yet remarkably managed to fill in the gaps each time a player was sidelined. Despite limited preparation, the team recognised the challenges ahead. As the game commenced, cohesion among the players became evident. Like fine wine aging, every match witnessed improvement, leading the team to find their rhythm. Facing the formidable international squad from England was an honor. Despite the valiant efforts, the 30s team couldn't surpass the highly disciplined and skilled sharks, ultimately falling short in the semis finals.

Acknowledgment to our exceptional coach and manager, Andrew Lees and Amy Lags.