FINE EFFORT: The six players who represented the Northern Eagles under-16 team in the NSW Regional Championships in Goulburn. (Back row) Bailey Veitch, Matthew Oates, Ryan Drew, Jake Eyre, (front row) Lachlan Brown and Jonnie Kirchen.
FINE EFFORT: The six players who represented the Northern Eagles under-16 team in the NSW Regional Championships in Goulburn. (Back row) Bailey Veitch, Matthew Oates, Ryan Drew, Jake Eyre, (front row) Lachlan Brown and Jonnie Kirchen. CONTRIBUTED

Matthew steps up for region

BALLINA touch footballer Matthew Oates was a standout playing for the Northern Eagles under-16 team at the NSW Regional Championships in Goulburn.

It was his first taste of representative football after playing at club level in Ballina.

He was joined by five other players from the Northern Rivers with Jonnie Kirchen, Jake Eyre (Ballina), Bailey Veitch, Lachlan Brown and Ryan Drew (Lismore).

"It was the first time the boys had played at that level," coach Bradley Eyre said.

"Most of them had played State Cup but Matt came straight out of club so he did particularly well."

The Eagles side was selected after the NSW State Cup in December.

The under-16 team encompasses players throughout NSW north of Newcastle and is the largest of the six regions that competed.

The boys were outclassed against handy opposition which included three Sydney sides, Hunter Valley and the Southern Suns.

"This is the highest level of touch you can play below state and the boys did really well," Eyre said.

"We had kids from Forster to Gunnedah and could only get together for training a couple of times. The Sydney teams train together twice a week and are always tough opposition."

Ballina player Hannah Gallagher also represented the Northern Eagles in the under-14 girls.


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