Newcastle will become the international home of Touch Football in Australia, with the announcement that the sport's Trans-Tasman Test Series will be held in Newcastle in 2020 and 2022.
The Trans-Tasman event is the pinnacle of international Touch Football outside of the Touch World Cup; featuring traditional rivals Australia and New Zealand going head-to-head across the three Opens – Men's, Women's and Mixed divisions – in 2020 and again in 2022.
In an added coup, the 2020 Youth Trans-Tasman will also be held in Newcastle, featuring the best under-18 and under20's athletes across Boys, Girls and Mixed divisions, taking the total number of events held in the region to three.
Touch Football Australia (TFA) CEO Steve Mitchell said the Trans-Tasman series will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase elite Touch Football to the community and provide economic benefits to the region via visitation and international exposure.
"This will be the first visit to Newcastle for many participants and their families, which will no doubt leave a lasting impression on them. As will the images of the region being beamed around the world as part of the live stream coverage.
"It will also provide the local community the chance to witness the skill of elite Touch Footballers and catch a glimpse of the next Kayln Ponga or Shaun Johnson, both of whom have previously represented their country at this very event."
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, welcomed the announcement.
"The Trans-Tasman touch football series represents another great event win for the City of Newcastle and the local hospitality industry, which will benefit from 3,000 visitors in an estimated $3 million windfall, " Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"The presence of these elite athletes will only add to our status as an international major-event destination with a bevy of experiences for visitors to enjoy.
The announcement further solidifies the investment in the local community by Touch Football Australia, on the back of the Newcastle Knights being one of six foundation clubs in the inaugural NRL Touch premiership and a recent strategic participation MOU implemented between the Knights, New South Wales Touch Football and local Touch Football competitions to grow the game more broadly in the region.