Mudgee will be hoping lightning can strike twice at NSW Touch Association premier event, the State Cup.
In 2015, the Mudcrabs won their first state title in the open division when they won the B-grade mixed open division.
Unfortunately, Mudgee will not have a chance to defend that crown as they did not nominate a mixed open team, but the men’s open side have other ideas.
The Mudcrabs will be represented in the men’s open division – the only Mudgee side to be competing at this year’s event in Port Macquarie, which starts today and concludes on Sunday.
A record number of teams – 239 from across 64 affiliates - will compete this weekend.
Mudgee Touch Association spokesman Ben Harris said the State Cup is the jewel in the crown.
“From a state perspective, this is the event everyone wants to win,” Harris said.
“Teams train for months just for this event. All the lead-up tournaments such as Hornets Regionals, Country Championships and for Sydney teams, the Vawdon Cup, everything leads to the State Cup.”
Harris said the State Cup is one of the biggest events in the world for touch football that it attracts international teams.
“Japan generally send a couple of teams. There is a team from Melbourne playing, Murwillumbah Mavericks attract players from Queensland. Joining them will be teams from Sydney and country areas,” Harris said.
Mudgee have been booked in the Men’s open B division and will play in Pool J.
Teams train for months just for this event, everything leads to the State Cup
They will take on Defence, Carlingford, Parramatta and Orange.
The Central West rivals played each other at the Country Championships in October with the Thunder winning after the full-time siren.
“Yeah that loss [to Orange] hurt Mudgee’s chances of making the finals at Country Championships,” Harris said.
“I think the boys will be wanting to make amends.”
Depending how Mudgee performs on day one competition, will determine which finals play-offs they compete on Saturday and Sunday.
“Friday is like a grading day where teams try to qualify for either the championship (B-grade), bowl (C-grade), plate (D-grade), shield (E-grade) competitions,” Harris explained.
“Hopefully the boys can get a few wins on day one and qualify for the higher grades.”
The 2016 event is the 40th State Cup held by NSWTA.