The sixth annual Bundaberg Cup touch carnival at Greg Duncan Fields on the weekend was another overwhelming success with 63 teams battling it out across nine divisions.
Competitors endured tough conditions, battling the heat and each other over two days for a share of the $20,000 prizemoney purse – one of Australia’s richest Touch Football Knockout competitions.
The biggest winners were Rockhampton, who claimed five titles, including the blue riband Men’s Open, with their Renegades side winning the magnificent trophy and $3250 cheque for the third year in a row and fourth in total following a 10-3 grand final victory over One Walk.
The Renegades have a major Bundaberg connection in the shape of their captain, former local and Australian and Queensland representative star for many years David Zanette.
The 37-year-old moved to the Beef Capital eight years ago but maintains strong connections with his hometown and loves coming back for this tournament, although he was disappointed to miss last year’s event.
There was also a Rum City flavour to the undefeated Kalki Moon team which took out the Men’s Social division with a 7-6 grand final triumph over Frezin Hot in an end-to-end duel that went beyond the full-time siren.
Frezin Hot were awarded a penalty close to the line just prior to the siren but were unable to break through for an equaliser.
Just one Bundaberg team made it to a grand final, the Under-12 Girls, and they played their hearts out but went down to Rockhampton Red 4-0.
Renegades have now contested the Bundaberg Cup Men’s Open grand final five times, losing only to Watch the Feet in 2018.
They swept all before them this time in their eight matches, defeating One Walk 9-6, Watch the Feet 4-2, Walan Marra 9-2, Gladstone EFEX 5-2, Bigheads 7-1, and Rockhampton Open 7-0 in the rounds, and Watch the Feet 13-3 in semi-finals.
David still mixes it with the world’s best, having been an integral part of the Australian team which defeated New Zealand to take out the Over-35s division of the 2019 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur but did not get to play internationally last year due to COVID-19.
He said current Australian junior representative Jardel Bob had been their best over the Cup in a galaxy of stars, which also included Australian Open Men’s Squad member Jayden Benbow, and national junior representatives Malcolm Kenny and Blake Moore.
Blake captained Capricornia to win the Queensland schools open boys’ championships in Bundaberg a few years ago and is also a key member of the Central Capras A Grade team in the Queensland Rugby League Intrust Super Cup.
David was also pleased for Dalby team Western Rebels which took out the Under-14 Boys crown and contains several players who he has mentored in coaching clinics which he conducts at Chinchilla every year and who he also helped over the weekend.
Rockhampton also triumphed in Under-16 and Under-14 Girls and Under-12 Boys.
Kalki Moon, which included Bundaberg products Tom Sly, Daniel Behn, Tom Kronk and Jarrod Crook, had accounted for Degenerates 5-2 in quarter-finals and Coolum 9-3 in semi-finals after Coolum had knocked out reigning Bundaberg Touch Men’s champions Ankle Bullies 4-3 in the quarters.
They had won all of their six Pool games, while Ankle Bullies had four wins to place third in Pool A, and the Bundaberg Under-16 Boys, playing up against the men, competed strongly throughout, achieving two wins to wind up fifth on the ladder.
Kalki Moon player and team coordinator Josh Hogan, who described it as “an awesome weekend”, said the rest of their side hailed from the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast, and he applauded the team’s performance.
“Captain Ivan Lynch stood up when needed and the rookies in the side, Bryce Wolens, Joel Taifalos and Kingston Lamberg, also showed why they got the call up to this special side,” Josh said.
The Bundaberg Under-12 Girls had also finished second on the ladder with four wins and two losses, and their coach Sue Essex was delighted to be runners-up.
“I am so proud of them as the days were very hot, and it was a great achievement by the girls because Rockhampton have always been strong and I think they were shocked by how well we went,” she said.
“My outstanding players were Layla Collins, Lola Woods, Abigail Churchill, Courtney Driver and Anna Svensson, and with more training, we will improve.
“Bundy Cup was a good experience because, for some girls, it was their first time playing in a carnival or even being picked for rep touch.
“We have two more carnivals before Junior State Cup in July, so those carnivals will also be a good learning curve.”
In the Bundaberg Cup touch carnival Mixed Open competition, Bundaberg’s Jackhammers went down to Coolum Bluefins 7-1 in the semi-finals after finishing second in Pool B with three wins and one loss.
Fellow Bundaberg outfit QNZLNDR managed just a draw from their four games.
Bluefins went on to be blown away for Kynd 6-1 in the decider.
In Mixed Social, Ball Hogs, who lost the Mixed Open grand final in 2020, reigned supreme with a 4-3 triumph at the expense of Ruckrats.
Ball Hogs had accounted for Bundaberg’s QNZLNDR Social 7-3 in the semi-finals after QNZLNR downed TopThat 6-0 in the quarter finals, where Bundy Renegades bowed out with a 6-3 loss to Ball Hogs.
The other four Bundaberg age teams all wound up third with their Under-16 Girls winning two of their six pool games, Under-14 Boys posting four wins from seven games, Under-14 Girls recording two wins and a draw from six games, and Under-12 Boys victorious in two of their four games.
Bundaberg Cup touch carnival results –
Men’s Open: Rocky Renegades 10 d One Walk 3
Men’s Social: Kalki Moon 7 d Frezin Hot 16 Boys 6
Mixed Open: Kynd 6 d Coolum Bluefins 1
Mixed Social: Ball Hogs 4 d Ruckrats 3
Girls Under-16: Rockhampton 7 d Allstars 3
Boys Under-14: Western Rebels 5 d Frezin Hot 4
Girls Under-14: Rockhampton 6 d Hervey Bay 1.
Boys Under-12: Rockhampton 3 d Allstars 1
Girls Under-12: Rockhampton Red 4 d Bundaberg 0
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