FINALS FEVER!!! The last day of Round games was the calm before the storm as teams jockeyed for finals berths at the Schools Sport Australia Combined Touch Tournament on the Gold Coast today. After taking the Dream World one day holiday, it was back to work for our Junior Touch stars who plied their trade for a grateful crowd who appreciated the efforts of players, referees, and coaches who continue to produce quality performances under sweltering conditions. The semi-finals jigsaw had final pieces inserted and all is in place for an exciting finals series. The 15 Years Boys semi-final schedule seeds an inform QLD as number one qualifiers. The Maroons will open proceedings tomorrow on field one after rounding off their preliminary games with copycat 12 -1 victories over Western Australia (6th Overall) and their semi-final opponents, Northern Territory. NSW produced a 28 -0 demolition of Tasmania and a 13 – 1 victory over the Territory Boys to set up a semi-final showdown with the ACT who had a 6 -5 Houdini like escape against Victoria and a comfortable 11 – 0 win over the Apple Islanders. Victoria and Tasmania will face off and South Australia will battle with Western Australia, with the respective winners advancing to the plate final. In the 15 Years Girls QLD and NSW `Tom cruised’ into the semi-finals with emphatic wins today. QLD made short work of the ACT 13 -1 then cut loose and rattled up a 23-0 score line over the Northern Territory. The Maroons will confront the ACT in their semi-final after completing a flawless run in the round games, whilst NSW will take on Western Australia in their semi-final after disposing of the Sandgropers 9 – 1 today, and South Australia 15 – 0. Western Australia bounced back from their defeat at the hands of NSW to beat Tasmania 7 -0 and advance to the semis. SA will meet NT and Victoria will clash with Tasmania for spots in the Plate Final. The 12 Years Boys and Girls had only the one round game today, and then played some lightning mixed games. The ten-minute games pitted Mixed combinations from the respective Girls and Boys State teams against each other for some fun and social touch. The kids had a ball and some of the Touch looked pretty good from where I was standing, the girls mixing it up with the best the boys had to offer – with this sort of talent on display the future of all forms of the game, including Mixed, looks pretty bright. In the 12 Years Tournament proper, the top three teams on points at the end of the round games go into Pool `A’ and the bottom three into Pool `B’. There are no grand finals in the 12 Years divisions, whichever team is placed the highest after all games is declared the overall winner. NSW put on a clinic with a professional 28 -0 victory over Tasmania in the 12 Years Boys to cement the top spot in Pool `A’. QLD comfortably defeated fellow Pool `A’ combatant, the ACT 13 – 0. NT, SA, and Tasmania will play each other to determine final rankings for the 2004 tournament. The QLD 12 Years Girls team’s quest for glory remains right on track after completing the preliminary games undefeated with the incredible figure of 87 touchdowns for and 0 against… Harry Potter wrapped in his cloak of invisibility couldn’t sneak past these girls! NSW who swept aside Tasmania 15 -0, will be joined in Pool `A’ by the Northern Territory, 8 -0 victors over South Australia. SA, ACT, and TAS will battle out the ranking games in the Pool `B’ series. So there you have it sports fans, the Finals series is shaping up better than Anthony Mundine to a forty -year-old opponent. The preliminary bouts tomorrow see the super powers NSW and QLD determined to produce the goods to set up a final confrontation in each division that will determine National champions for 2004. “Don’t stop fighting until the fight is done” Kevin Costner’s character Elliot Ness in the movie `The Untouchables’ famously said – the other competing States will be doing just that tomorrow – fighting as hard as possible to produce their best and prove that no one is untouchable. Ranking games, Semi-finals, and Grand finals are on the menu. Games start at 8.30 am, yes I know it’s early, so set the Alarm clock – not the VCR – c’mon we all know there’s no such thing as `live’ broadcasts, anyway, the atmosphere’s always better at the ground. Get down to Owen Park and cheer on our Touch stars of the future, it will be a fantastic day. Written by Karley Banks 29th October 2004.