Bundaberg will be well represented at the Vikings Futsal Association Australian Junior Championships in Sydney next week, with 10 players to line up in Queensland Country teams for the three-day tournament.
Ty Appleton, Evan Caville, Mitchell Laughlin and Connor Morrison are all members of the QC year 10 boys' side, coached by Appleton's father, Troy.
Kaylee Penny, Tyla Harrison and Tess Williams form a strong girls' contingent for the city, while Chase Connelly and Nick Chippendale will do battle in the 12 years boys' category. Josh Adcock will fly the flag in 11 years boys.
The teams for the nationals were chosen after the state championships in Brisbane during the school holidays in April.
There, some of the locals played for Wide Bay, while the others wore the colours of Central Queensland, but Appleton said they all excelled to earn their selections.
Queensland Country covers the area from Rockhampton to Gympie and Troy Appleton said it was a great achievement for Bundaberg to provide half of his squad of eight players.
They will be up against four other Queensland sides – City, Metro, Coast and Northern – as well as host New South Wales, Victoria City and Country, and Tasmania.
All teams will play each other in a hectic round-robin schedule, with two rounds on Tuesday and four on Wednesday, while there will be a further three on Thursday, leading into sudden-death semi-finals.
The grand final is set down for 9am Friday, and Appleton is hoping to go all the way.
“The opening ceremony and our matches are at Penrith Stadium. It will be a big occasion for the boys because this is their first nationals,” he said.
“But they have been training really, really hard. They are technically very good, their team did better than any Wide Bay team at the state titles for seven or eight years, and they are not going down there to lose.
“They will also be trying out for spots in the Australian Allstars team, which will go overseas. Connor's older brother Brenton is just back from Brazil with an Australian team and Connor, for one, would like to follow in his footsteps.”
The 11 and 12 years boys' divisions will be played at Hawkesbury Indoor Stadium, while the girls' divisions are all at Penrith.
All the Bundaberg representatives play in the Vikings Futsal league.