first_imgTouch Football Australia’s Queensland Branch will embark on a whirlwind goodwill tour of Japan from the 22 – 28 August 2006.A mixed team, comprising State representatives across various age divisions who competed in the recent State of Origin series, was invited to participate in the Tour. The Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs nominated the Japan Touch Football Union (JTFU) to bolster the relationship between Japan and Australia in the name of the “Australia Japan Year of Exchange” project.  The Japan Touch Football Union, who sent two Mixed teams to the Touch Football Australia Queensland Branch 2005 State Cup at Kawana, see this tour as an integral build-up to their preparation for the 2007 World Cup.  Touch Football Australia Queensland Branch stayed in contact with the JTFU after the State Cup and has been providing the developing Touch nation with resources and information to broaden their technical knowledge and practical applications of the game.Touch Football Australia Queensland Branch Member Services Officer, Kathy Sweeney will be the tour leader and has been working closely with the JTFU since March to ensure the tour has several mutual outcomes for both parties.“Building friendships and the development of the sport of Touch across the world.   Feeling that you can contribute to this is very rewarding and fulfilling. All our Queensland players are really excited about going and have been practicing their bowing… they are a hard bunch to teach etiquette to, but all are excited about embracing and learning about a new culture” Kathy said.Experienced Queensland coaches Tony O’Keefe and Mark Edwards will coach the Queensland team, and Level 6 referee and Touch Football Australia Queensland Branch Development Officer Glenn Richardson will also be touring.The Queensland touring party will provide valuable mentoring and education to the Japanese players and technical arms fraternity with scheduled competition, exhibition matches, coaching and game development sessions. The tour will include games against the Japanese National squads to assist in the finalisation of their World Cup teams and tournament games as well as several social and cultural engagements.Current Australian Open Men’s representative Phil Gyemore will lead the Queensland team and is excited about the prospect of touring Japan after traveling to the country previously for the 2003 FIT World Cup played in Kumagaya.“It is most definitely a different environment.  It’s great for people to get out of their comfort zone and experience how other people in the world live. We’ve just come off the State of Origin so we had a very comfortable home base from which to play, now we have to be prepared for a different competition, social and cultural environment.”The language barrier is obviously always an interesting aspect to overcome. Phil believes though that on the field will be common ground for both nations.“The game, the rules and signals – the language of Touch football we will both speak perfectly well I’d imagine.”Jokingly Phil said, “It’ll probably be good for Parksey (Luke Parker) and Rager (Dave Raper). The Country Club connection won’t get too far with questioning the Japanese referee’s decisions, so that will be good for the flow of the games.”The Japan Minister of Foreign Affairs and the JTFU have provided an International interpreter to accompany the team and Masahiro, a Japanese player, speaks English and will act as one of the Queenslander’s hosts.Phil is excited about playing with the array of players Queensland has assembled.“It will be great playing with new people – there are a lot of stars there across the age divisions and a good mix of personalities – it’ll be heaps of fun and a life experience the players will no doubt look back on with fondness in the future.” Queensland’s tour is precisely the sort of cultural game exchange experience that will assist the Japanese Touch football community to develop a better feel and “read” for the finer points and styles of playing the game.Japan has been a member of the Federation of International Touch (FIT) since November 1990 and has attended every World Cup since 1991. The Australian Touch community have been very willing contributors in the development in the game in the Asian region, particularly in Japan.Queensland’s tour of Japan in 2006 is another stepping stone in the development of the game on a global level and we look forward to hearing about the on and off field exploits of our intrepid touch ambassadors upon their return.It will also be interesting to hear if Parksey and Rager manage to get through the tour without time in the bin… stay tuned.Updates on the progress of the tour and a wrap up of the tour will be provided.The Queensland Touring party is:Jason Powell, Luke Parker, Matt Mc Donald, Shane Rigby, Sean Slinger, Graham White, Dave Raper, Phil Gyemore (Captain), Nicola Slade, Sherry Ey, Haylene Grogan, Terri Cronk, Lisa Miller, Tracy Williamson (Captain), Tony O’Keefe (Coach) Mark Edwards (Coach) Glenn Richardson (Referee) Kathy Sweeney (Tour Manager)Written by Karley Banks  Media Member Services Officerlast_img

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