RACV Spa Special

Touch footy touches down

A new football competition has just arrived on the Surf Coast.

Touch football, which started in Australia back in 1923 is still an emerging sport in AFL-mad Victoria, but is fast gaining in popularity as a non-contact sport that is easy to learn and fun to play.

Due to popular demand, the inaugural Surf Coast Touch Football competition has just kicked off, initially comprising nine teams, over 90 players, for both guys and girls. The competition launched last week at Torquay’s Banyul Warri Fields sports precinct, with a friendly game and function.

With many family members playing in the same teams, it promises to be a real family affair, with ages ranging from 15 to 60-plus and an even gender balance between male and female players.

Organised through the Surf Coast Shire recreation facilities team in conjunction with some committed community members, the competition will run every Thursday night over the next 11 weeks until the end of June.

It follows a series of promotional days at the Cowrie Market over the past six months and a recent six-week Come and Try program that aimed to introduce newcomers to the game.

Touch football was initially played as a training technique for rugby league and also as a social game in parks. It became a recognised sport in its own right in 1968 when the first official game of touch took place in Sydney.

By the early 1970s, touch was widely played throughout New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand. The ensuing 40 years have seen the game’s rapid expansion, particularly across the South Pacific, Europe and the United Kingdom.

This is reflected in the cultural diversity among participants in the inaugural Surf Coast competition, with many having played touch in other countries before moving to the local area.

The game is easy to learn, requires minimal equipment and has a strong social focus, all of which make it suitable for all ages and levels – beginners are especially welcome. Played over two 20-minute periods, with a five-minute break in between, the game’s highly aerobic nature also appeals to those looking to improve their health and fitness in a fun environment.

The arrival of touch on the Surf Coast adds to the diversity of activities undertaken at Banyul Warri Fields, which have continued to grow since the precinct opened in late 2011, and further enhances its role as a valuable community asset.

For more information or to enquire about touch football on the Surf Coast, contact the Surf Coast Sport and Recreation Centre on 5261 4606 or by email on surfcoastsrc@surfcoast.vic.gov.au.