Raiders Pathway, Touch to NRL

The best young NRL Touch Football team from the ACT, the ACT Raiders, represented the territory on the Sunshine Coast last week for the National Youth Championships 2018.

For the first time, the ACT Raiders under-18s Girls team are decked out in Canberra Raiders NRL team-aligned lime green kit, to represent the relationship between the NRL club and Touch Football ACT (TFACT).

TFACT Business Development Manager Mitchell Kent explains the relationship: “We’ve been working with the Canberra Raiders for about three years now. Among other things, local touch teams play curtain-raisers to Canberra Raiders home games, and the ACT Raiders touch teams are a pathway to the Canberra Raiders women’s rugby league team.”

The team comprised of a number of highly talented individuals which included the daughters of former Raider #121 Darrell McDonald as well as current Senior Sports Trainer Mick Pheeney.

The National Youth Championships (NYC), which began on Wednesday 12th with finals on Saturday 15th September, comprises of the best under-18’s Boys and Girls teams from around the country, including all the way from Western Australia and Tasmania, plus New Zealand.

The traditional touch football/rugby league states of NSW and Queensland tend to dominate, but the ACT Raiders are currently sitting sixth out of nine teams on the ladder in their pool. After losses to two of the strongest New South Wales teams yesterday on day one of the tournament, the Raiders have come out stronger today, taking an 8-4 win against the Northern Territory and a narrow 4-5 loss to strong Queensland team, the Central Queensland Bulls.

The ACT Raiders played SA Roosters with a strong 8-6 win after displaying a dominant performance. The Raiders attack was too strong with individual brilliance from Grace Smith, Gabbie Davis and Keesha Kapea. Madeleine Kelly was having a field day on the left-wing scoring 5 touchdowns (4 in the first half).

The ACT played South Australia in the Alliance Final (fought between ACT, SA, VIC, NT and WA), where they narrowly went down 5-3, with Matisse McNair, Ash Witt and Keesha Kapea all scoring touchdowns.

Kent is enjoying the high level of touch football on display from all around the country. “These youth events are a nice pathway to the National Touch League, where the ACT Raiders will compete in the Open’s [adult] divisions.”

Registrations for touch football in the ACT are open now, and the season begins in October. Go to