Commencing for the first time in 2016, an exciting new national Touch Football school competition format will be connected, branded and aligned into one overall program.
The inaugural Harvey Norman School Series is a national competition for school-based boys and girls teams to compete at the Year 9/10 school year level, consisting of 28 events run over a 12-month period across each state and territory.
The first event effectively launching the new Series is being conducted this week – the 2015 Queensland All Schools event in Brisbane which attracts a staggering 420 teams from across the state.
The Series will culminate with the Harvey Norman National Youth Championships (September 2016). This will see an opportunity for both the best school teams and the best youth teams from across the country in one locality. They will compete together in a larger and extended event format.
Teams that have participated in the Series over the preceding 12 months will come together to compete against schools from other states and territories for the overall coveted national 'Harvey Norman Schools Series Cup' title. Importantly, teams that do not enter the local level series events cannot enter the Harvey Norman School Series Cup.
The series builds on existing events and will be run and operated by each individual state and territory. Initial discussions have identified the development of new events to cover all jurisdictions across Australia in a consistent format.
Touch Football Australia CEO, Colm Maguire, welcomed the concept acknowledging all the principals, state/district convenors, players, officials, partners and supporters that will all contribute to the success of the series and existing events/formats.
He also highlighted on behalf of the TFA Board of Management the importance of creating opportunities through development pathways and strengthening the touch football connection within schools.
"We are very much looking forward to the inception of the Harvey Norman School Series competition, working closely with our key partners Harvey Norman and the NRL and state/territory bodies particularly, building on their great work and partnerships through the schools' system and ensuring a nationally consistent format and approach ongoing," Maguire said.
"We believe this will be one of the premier schoolboy and schoolgirl competitions across the Australian football codes in terms of development pathway, reach and profile nationally.
"It is a key strategic imperative of our sport to ensure development opportunities and pathways exist and are available at the schools and youth level.
"This concept builds on and helps us to leverage the success of the existing programs conducted across schools currently and re-position the National Youth Championships to be more of a finale and logical conclusion of the series towards the end of each calendar year.
"We will endeavour to ensure with our state partners that the new Harvey Norman School Series promotes the value of education as well as the incredible sporting talent nurtured through Australian schools.
"We anticipate the new School Series format continues to contribute positively to the identities and experiences of the schools and individuals that participate; creating proud traditions and connections for teachers, students and parents alike."