High school team makes top 16

(Back row) Murraya Horan, Abbey O'Neill, Chloe Butler, Grace Clothier, Emily Butler, Samantha Chapman, Alanna Melling and Emma O'Brien; and (front row) Allie Hill, Abbey Jones, Rylee Cooper, Phoebe Cooper, Samantha Gower and Georgia O'Neill.
(Back row) Murraya Horan, Abbey O'Neill, Chloe Butler, Grace Clothier, Emily Butler, Samantha Chapman, Alanna Melling and Emma O'Brien; and (front row) Allie Hill, Abbey Jones, Rylee Cooper, Phoebe Cooper, Samantha Gower and Georgia O'Neill.

A ragtag group of female athletes from Tenterfield High School who rarely manage to be in the one place for training have relied on natural talent and a ‘just have fun’ attitude to make it to the top 16 in the state in soccer.

Team members are drawn from the full spectrum of students, years 7 to 12. A few play in the weekend soccer competition but coach Karen Cooper said most are more into leaguetag.

The girls defeated Tamworth last week to earn their place in the state knockout, after overcoming teams from Glen Innes, Macintyre and Oxley. While the Tamworth scoreline was 3-1, the Tenterfield girls managed to keep their opponents in the other matches from the net completely. The score was 9-0 against Glen Innes, 3-0 against Macintyre and 6-0 against Oxley.

The next challenge may be more difficult, however, when Northern Beaches Secondary College – Freshwater Campus comes to town for the first knockout match in mid-July. While the Tenterfield girls will have the home ground advantage at Federation Park, all the players they’ll be up against are in year 11 or 12.

Not being familiar with the opposition Mrs Cooper can’t rate the local girls’ chances, saying it depends on how they play on the day.

“But they play really well,” she said.

The team's success may be more to do with the 'just have fun' attitude than hours of training.

The team's success may be more to do with the 'just have fun' attitude than hours of training.

The team includes rep players Georgia O’Neill and Phoebe Cooper who were selected for the North West Open Girls team that played at Glenwood in Sydney in the NSW CHS (Combined High Schools) championships. The team finished ninth overall, and Mrs Cooper said it was a great experience for the girls.

While the high school team’s success can’t really be put down to hours of practice, Mrs Cooper said the girls work well together and get out there and have fun, without too much pressure.

Once the date is confirmed for the team’s knockout clash against Northern Beaches, she hopes there will be plenty of local support from the sidelines to cheer the girls on. Any defeat puts them straight out of the competition.