Australians tune up for Tokyo with two-day carnival

To give the Australian players the chance to earn some match fitness in the lead up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, a two-day 7s carnival was played over Friday and Saturday with the Aussie team up against a Pacific Island team, a Queensland representative team and a NSW representative team.

Originally scheduled to be held at Bellevue Oval for January, the tournament was re-scheduled and then relocated to the Blues’ homeground.

Armidale Blues’ Luke Stephen said there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get the field up to scratch.

“There were a lot of positive comments from the visiting teams around the facilities at Moran and the day in what was a very well put together preparation with very short notice,” he said.

“The club had a week’s notice that it couldn’t be played at Bellevue and it was coming to Moran.

“The work of the Blues’ volunteers in terms of getting the field to standard, cleaning the grounds up, running the bar, canteen, the gate, it was a really great club effort.”

Stephen also hailed it as a “great event for the community” and even better for up-and-comers in the sport.

“For younger players, and speaking to my senior players, for a lot of those guys who don’t get to see the top players in the sport, it gives them a great understanding of the skill level required. It is not until you see it in the flesh that you do understand how skilled these guys are,” he said. – Armidale Express