News, Sport

Oztag championships return to Fairy Meadow

THE 2013 and 2014 Oztag State Cup and the Oztag Junior State Cup, will be held at Fairy Meadow, bringing thousands of athletes and their families to Wollongong for the championships.

Held in February and March in 2013 and 2014, Oztag officials estimate that up to 4,500 participants will visit the city each year. This does not include their family members or friends who might visit and watch the state championships.

Wollongong City Deputy Lord Mayor David Brown said the Oztag championships will fill Dalton Park nicely following recent upgrades to the park.

“Oztag is a popular competition with players from around NSW coming to Wollongong for the Oztag State Cup and the junior state cup. We have been only too happy to work with the Oztag Association to provide these grounds for the competition. And the grounds have recently been upgraded with new irrigation and lighting systems valued at more than $1.5 million. I’m hoping that this investment in our city infrastructure may see more championships coming to our city.”

The Australian Oztag Sports Association Tournament Director, Bill Harrigan, said the proximity of Wollongong to Sydney, western Sydney and southern NSW was an important aspect of bringing the two state cups to the city.

“We were looking for playing fields close to Sydney and close to other areas where players and family members can get easy access,” Mr Harrigan said.

“We were also looking for a park where we could get a number of fields to support up to 3,000 players in the competition. Dalton Park fills both these criteria and we are very happy with the work Council has completed on the fields.”

 The State Cup will be held on the weekend of February 8-10, while the Junior State Cup is scheduled for the weekend of March 15-17 in 2013.

In securing the event on behalf of the city, Tourism Wollongong Chairman Matt Davidson said the championships would bring a myriad of benefits to the region.

“Having thousands of competitors and their families visit Wollongong is a real boost for the city, not only for the tourism and hospitality sectors, but in having the ability to enhance the perception of Wollongong among those who may not otherwise have visited,” he said.

“Securing this type of event certainly provides immediate economic impact for local businesses, along with exposing Wollongong and the region to a wider cross-section of visitors who may decide to extend their stay or return.”

OZTAG football is a recreational sport that has competitions running all over Australia, with the largest areas in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. It is a non-tackling game. Eight players in each team are on the field at any one time. Players wear shorts with a Velcro patch on each side. A strip of cloth is attached to the Velcro, known as a tag. The object of the game is to score tries. Defenders prevent this by tagging the ball carrier, removing the tag from the shorts.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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