Australian Oztag selection for Group 7 athletes

 Kiama's Tom Atkins. Photo: SPORTS FOCUS PHOTO
Kiama's Tom Atkins. Photo: SPORTS FOCUS PHOTO

A NUMBER of Group 7’s top players have been rewarded for their strong play on the field by being named in their respective Australian oztag teams.

Kiama Knights fullback Tom Atkins has again been named in the open men’s side, after a strong showing with the Vipers, at the nationals in Coffs Harbour in November.

“I had a good tournament – it is always easier when you have your mates out there with you, pushing you in every game,” Atkins said.

“But we just fell short, losing the grand final in a drop off, which was a shame.”

Atkins, who has represented Australia twice before, and his Australian side will contest the International Tag Federation World Cup in Coffs Harbour from November 1-4.

“I was pretty stoked to be selected – I’ve always wanted to play at the top level and open men’s, especially at a World Cup,” he said.

“I’ve never played in a World Cup, before so I’m pretty excited.

“There are plenty of countries that are really competitive, so it I think it’s going to be a pretty tough World Cup.”

Similarly, Jamberoo Superoos’ trio Aimee Barnard, Brooke Smith and Kaela Thomas will contest the women’s World Cup, after being named in the open women’s Tagaroos side.

They will be joined in the team by fellow Group 7 products Georgia Thomas (Shellharbour) and Lauren Murty (Milton-Ulladulla), with Ebony Murray (Milton-Ulladulla) named as a shadow player.

In the Australian mixed open’s side, Group 7 will be represented by Shellharbour’s Matt Carroll and Kiama duo Kristi Pan and Alana Glasson.

Shellharbour’s Kade Sampson has been named in the Australian under 20s men’s side alongside Stingrays duo Hamish McLaurin and Jayden Harris (who was also named in the under 18s) and Warilla-Lake South’s Blair Grant.

Not to be outdone, Stingrays captain/coach Dean Gray will line-up alongside Albion Park/Oak Flats coach Gary Breakspear in the Australian men’s 35 side.