26 September 2023

Spirited Central Cape Suns team shows plenty of ticker in Tassell Trophy

| Matt Nicholls
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The Central Cape Suns under-14 team didn’t win a match but won plenty of hearts at the Tassell Trophy in Cairns on the weekend.

UNDERSIZED and inexperienced, the Central Cape Suns junior rugby league team knew they were going to have their backs against the wall in Cairns on the weekend.

The under-14 side, playing in the esteemed Tassell Trophy, might not have had the Disney movie experience they were hoping for, but the underdogs won plenty of hearts at Jones Park.

In four matches, the Weipa boys were beaten 44-0 by Brothers Townsville, 32-4 by Innisfail, 36-0 by Cairns Kangaroos, and 36-4 by the Mareeba Gladiators.

“I’m really proud of the way they performed,” Suns coach Trent Gordon said.

“There was a massive difference between the size of the kids and we just didn’t have any of the bigger bodies to match them.

“But I spoke to them about resilience and how it would be a great learning experience and they all put their heads down and gave it their all.”

As a result, the Central Cape Suns won the Spirit of the Carnival Award for their efforts.

“I think some of our boys were a bit shellshocked by the size of the other players on the first day but they learnt not to be intimidated by the size and picked up new techniques to tackle and work as a team to defence,” Gordon said.

“Life isn’t always easy and I think the boys will come away from this much better placed. It wasn’t as if it was an unsafe environment because there were no serious injuries, it’s just they had some bigger kids.”

The size of the Central Cape Suns pool of players means that each season, organised games can only be played amongst each other, and are usually eight or nine per side.

“The kids got a good taste of carnival footy and I’m sure they’ll be hungry to come back if they get another opportunity. We had a lot of 13-year-olds who could come back next year,” the coach said.

Gordon didn’t want to individualise performances but praised the efforts of Jake McDonnell, Oliver King, Hunter Slingo and Saki Canaweka.

“Hunter won the defensive effort award for the work he did in the middle.”

Sunny Gordon was named the players’ player for his efforts in the backline. He made several big plays from dummy-half.

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