Futsal takes centre stage with Nations of Origin tournament

RARING TO GO: Orange’s Nations of Origin rugby league and futsal teams. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0702futsalFUTSAL’S rise from obscurity continues on Tuesday with Orange PCYC hosting the inaugural Nations of Origin futsal tournament.

The Nations of Origin, a state- wide PCYC initiative, is designed to promote reconciliation within the community by engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people of non-Aboriginal descent in multiple sports.

“It’s a great initiative, focused around reconciliation,” Department of Education and Communities Aboriginal sports development officer Jason French said.

“We have several Sudanese and Islander boys coming too, as do a lot of the other nations. It’s a great mix of cultures.

“It’s about participation and learning a healthy lifestyle, but the underlying message is reconciliation.”

Twenty futsal teams – 10 boys’ and 10 girls’ – will converge on Orange to compete in the tournament, which starts st 9am today.

“The PCYC’s former CEO Chris Gardner pioneered it,” PCYC spokesman Dave Cleal said.

“He was very passionate about improving Indigenous sport, and their opportunities. It’s not a high profile sport, and we run a competition in summer so it is a good way to get it out there.”

French said the introduction of futsal to the carnival works in conjunction with several other state-wide initiatives.

“It’s part of continuing our Indigenous program with Football NSW,” he said. “It’s almost starting over again in a way, we’ve limited it to 10 teams, and hopefully we grow on that next year.”

Orange will also send two teams to the Nations of Origin rugby league carnival, in Dubbo.

As per 2013, Orange will send a boys’ and a girls’ rugby league team, aiming to go further than last year. In 2013, both teams were knocked out in the semi-finals.

“It’s a bit of an unknown,” he said.

“Last year they played in the semis and they were two years below the age group. “The girls played the semis as well, they should do well.”

Tuesday’s games start at 9am at the Orange PCYC with the final scheduled for 3.30pm.

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