The Cronulla Sharks and Taren Point Touch Association partnership fielded three teams in this year’s Vawdon Cup Touch Football competition with the Men’s Open’s squad falling at the final hurdle when narrowly beaten in the Grand Final.
Fielding teams in Men’s Division 2, Women’s Division 1 and the Boys Youth League, the Sharks were competitive throughout, with the 6-4 Grand Final loss by the Men’s Opens the highlight of a successful 2017 season.
A weekly competition conducted throughout the Sydney Metropolitan, the Vawdon Cup saw 12 rounds contested prior to a finals series.
Played between late August and early November, the Vawdon Cup showcases some of the best touch football talent in the country in a competition boasting a 35-year history. It includes teams representing affiliates from Penrith, Western Suburbs, Wollongong and the Central Coast, as well as from Sydney Metro areas in between.
The Sharks became involved with Taren Point Touch Association through a partnership to help grow the grassroots game of touch football while also providing an alternative NRL pathway, with the players in all Taren Point representative sides wearing the Cronulla Sharks branded apparel.
The Cronulla Sharks Men’s team played Easts Roosters in the Division 2 Grand Final last Saturday at Waterworth Park, Tempe, with the boys battling back from an early 2-0 deficit to grab the lead, only to eventually go down by two tries in a hard-fought tussle.
“We started the year with a relatively young team by Men’s Open standards (but) this season has been a massive improvement in the team’s ability and performance under the leadership of coaches Mark Hearnden, Darren Shelley and trainer John Noyeaux,” Men’s Open’s Captain Grant O’Donnell said.
As for the Women’s Open’s side and the Youth League team, as explained by Men's Open's team member Louis Hearnden, both squads tried hard throughout and have laid the platform for greater on-field success in the future.
“This year was particularly exciting for the club as we fielded our inaugural team in the Boys Youth League Division,” Hearnden said. “The youth boys had an excellent season and this year’s Vawdon Cup experience will see them grow even stronger in 2018.
“The Youth League side is an important stepping stone for young developing players who hope to one day play in the higher men's open divisions.
“The Women's Division 1 side had a tough season with not much luck on the field, but had plenty of fun along the way and will be hoping to build for a stronger showing when they return bigger and better in 2018,” Hearnden added.
Next up is the Senior State Cup to be held in Port Macquarie in December, with five teams representing the Cronulla Sharks and Taren Point Touch Association Touch Football taking part.
The Junior State Cup is set to be contested in February, with the Cronulla Sharks and Taren Point Touch to field teams across every age division.
For information on how to get involved in representative touch and to join your local touch football competition follow, ‘Taren Point Touch Association’ on Facebook and @CronullaSharksTouch on Instagram.
Season Results - Men’s Open Division 2
ROUND 1 Cronulla Sharks 7 - Campbelltown 5
ROUND 2 Cronulla Sharks 3 – Northern Beaches 2
ROUND 3 Cronulla Sharks 1 – Wests Magpies 5
ROUND 4 Cronulla Sharks 4 – Carlingford Cyclones 1
ROUND 5 Cronulla Sharks 9 – Penrith Panthers 6
ROUND 6 Cronulla Sharks 8 – St George Dragons 3
ROUND 7 Cronulla Sharks 9 – Central Coast Dolphins 3
ROUND 8 Cronulla Sharks 3 – Easts Roosters 4
ROUND 9 Cronulla Sharks 8 – Lower Blue Mountains 1
ROUND 10 Cronulla Sharks 2 – Wests Magpies 6
ROUND 11 Cronulla Sharks 8 – Central Coast Dolphins 3
ROUND 12 Cronulla Sharks 4 – Easts Roosters 0
Sharks 7 – Central Coast Dolphins 5
Sharks 6 – Penrith Panthers 5
Sharks 4 – Easts Roosters 6