Kanga Cup 2017
For the first time in the tournament’s 26-year history, a team from Hills Grammar competed in the largest junior football tournament in the Southern Hemisphere – the Kanga Cup. Held at 11 different venues throughout the ACT, this highly regarded international tournament attracted 5500 players in 307 teams from every state of Australia, as well as New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
The opening ceremony was at the Australian Institute of Sport, and our team, competing in the Under 13 Shield competition, were greeted by Khonkaen Sports School from Bangkok as they were entering the stadium and then proudly marched behind the Hills Grammar banner, experiencing their first taste of international competition.
The competition got underway at 8.30am on Monday at Dickson playing fields, with the temperature hovering around 0 degrees. Our opponents were Gungahlin Vipers from the ACT who, despite the hometown advantage, were no match for Hills Grammar, who eventually ran out 6-1 winners.
The second game of the day was against a strong Caulfield Colts from Victoria. Despite putting up a brave showing, the Victorian team, who would go on to win the tournament, prevailed by the score of 1-4.
The Hills Grammar team soon found out what tournament football was all about; having to back up for a further two games on Tuesday.
In the first match, we went down 0-2 to an Impressive Canberra FC side before facing the eventual runners up Mansfield High School from Queensland. In a tough encounter, the Queenslanders won 2-1, but not before being challenged by a brave Hills Grammar outfit.
An enjoyable team dinner on Tuesday evening at Ostani Restaurant was followed by a much appreciated day off on Wednesday. The team took advantage of this to rest recuperate and take in some sightseeing at Parliament House, the War Memorial and Questacon.
Thursday saw us facing another double header. The first encounter was against a very physical Ramsgate RSL from the St George Association, who won the game 3-1, but the Hills Grammar team definitely came out on top in the sportsmanship and fair play stakes in what was the least pleasant game of the tournament.
The last game of the week was against another ACT team, Majura Magic. In an outstanding display of skill and determination (and putting aside the effects of playing 6 games in 4 days), Hills Grammar finished the tournament with a remarkable 5-4 victory.
The team finished in 7th position overall, and were the 4th top goal scorers in the Shield Division. Considering that the majority of this team was playing a year above their age, this was a commendable performance. The way that the team conducted themselves on and off the field was a credit to themselves, the School, their coaches and the large number of family and supporters that cheered them on. Special mention should be made of coaches Olivia Price and Sarah Yatim and Manager Sarah O’Neill for the job that they did throughout the week.
All in all, a very successful tournament, and hopefully the first of many Hills Grammar School football teams to compete in what proved to be a fantastic competition and experience for all concerned.
Congratulations to the following players who have been selected in the Hills Football Youth Development program:
Aydin Dogan, Dion Malishev, Campbell Black and Thomas Hanzis in the U13s
Jack Hanzis – Reserve for the U13s.
Geoff Johnson | Football Coordinator