The NTJSA’s under-12 gold team didn’t leave Canberra’s Kanga Cup with the trophy, but they did leave a lasting impression.
Jason Hawes’ 15-player squad finished the tournament with two wins, two draws and two losses but still found a way onto the winners’ podium via the fairest team award.
“They’re a good bunch of kids, they’re from five different clubs,” Hawes said.
“They play against each other on a Saturday and then get together at 9am on a Sunday, train for a couple of hours and they’re the best of mates.”
The side was brought together in February this year and qualified for the Kanga Cup after taking out a tournament in Devonport in June.
Hawes said the award was a credit to his players’ conduct during matches and over the course of the trip.
“Wherever we went people just commented on how well the kids went, and their demeanour and the way they played the game,” he said.
“Even though it’s an under-12 sport it can get fairly heated sometimes with parents on sidelines and reactions when something doesn’t go your way, but they took it in their stride and probably were the fairest team.”
Speaking from a team lunch at McDonalds Invermay, a trio of under-12 gold players had this to say about the meaning of teamwork and fair play:
Thomas Chambers, 12, Blackstone Heights: “I think it means congratulating the opposition and playing with our own spirit - not to worry about what the ref is saying or what fans are screaming out from the sideline.”
Mac Wilcox, 12, Newstead: “I reckon fair play means not getting angry at your own teammates, not yelling at the ref, and if you know the rules you should play by the rules, don’t push the limits.”
Thomas Milner, 12, St Leonards: “If your teammate accidentally lets a goal in you say something like ‘unlucky, we’ll get them next time’ - and not arguing with the ref, just going with what he says.”