The NRL has wrapped their inaugural touch football premiership, granting new opportunities for elite players.
It is the first significant opportunity the low-contact sport has been given to explore a nationally broadcast competition, with six games playing prior to the NRL round games.
Touch Football Australia spokesperson Alice Ellis is eager to improve the competition with plans for next year already taking shape.
“We are planning to add new teams and many more rounds to the NRL Touch Premiership in 2019, and we will plan to grow sustainability from there,” Ellice said.
“Eventually we’d hope to be in a position where we’d be able to create a professional league of Australian touch football athletes. This will take some time and higher revenues from commercial sponsors and broadcast deals.”
The 2018 competition featured six teams in both female and male divisions.
Divided into Queensland and New South Wales conferences, teams included the Eels, Cowboys, Knights, Broncos, Titans and Tigers.
The finals were played at the Gold Coast Cbus Super stadium in July, resulting in victory for the women’s West Tigers team and the men’s Brisbane Broncos.
For 19-year-old Paije Hockings, representing the Gold Coast Titans was an unexpected and welcome opportunity.
“I’m so happy that the sport is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Hopefully it will build next year and for years to come,” Hockings said.
Hockings recently travelled to Malaysia to represent Australia in the women’s 20’s team at the Youth Touch World Cup – her first international honour.