Kirsty in touch as Maroons win gold

By VINE HABERMAN KIRSTY Beer has continued her remarkable run of team success at national level. The 15-year-old Bundaberg State High School Year 11 student was one of the youngest members of the Queensland side which contested the Australian Secondary Schools Under-18 girls' Touch Championships at Coffs Harbour. But it did not stop her from playing another major hand as the Maroons wrapped up the title undefeated with a 10-6 grand final victory against New South Wales. It was Beer's third national title after also helping Queensland to the under-15 girls' touch crown 12 months ago and being part of the state's Australian Primary Schools softball triumph in 2002. The dynamic all-rounder was among the scorers in the decider, taking her tally to "about'' 10 touchdowns for their eight games at the tournament. It was the second year in a row her Queensland team had beaten the Blues to clinch gold, and Beer said as in all sports, when the two states clashed, it was always a fierce battle. But for the survivors from the 2005 under-18's, Beer said it was sweet revenge after they had been beaten in a drop-off last year. Beer said she had put in a lot of training under dedicated Bundaberg High touch and rugby league coach Leon Murdoch, who has been her mentor since Year 8. But she is also very appreciative of her father Anthony, whom she said had driven her to Brisbane for state training every Sunday since the team was chosen "a couple of months ago'', and was on hand to cheer Queensland all the way. An Australian team to contest the annual Touch Trans-Tasman Challenge in New Zealand early next year, which was chosen from the championships, is yet to be announced, and Beer would love to achieve that honour but she will "see what happens''. "I'll just keep training hard and hopefully make the Australian squad next year if I don't this year,'' Beer said. Beer continues to shine also for her school in other sports including athletics and netball, but touch is now her sporting passion. Bundaberg also had one representative in the state under-18 boys' team which finished a creditable third in their championships ? Justin Otto, of Shalom College.

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