We had only just recovered from the return of the ark…. torrential rain, flooding and being cut off from the rest of the civilisation when the god’s descended upon us. It was a day the likes of none I had ever been blessed with the opportunity to witness.Names that will echo in the halls of touch history came to play the greatest sport on earth on a hot balmy weekend in Townsville….. Shuker, Sonda, Day-Berg Muir and Jones just to name a few. Little words can be used to describe how great these God’s were. Their grace, speed and skill (although lacking somewhat on Saturday morning!!!) came to the front on the shores of the great Coral Sea on Saturday afternoon. The 200 willing spectators got a first hand view of the best that the game has on offer. Chris “Fazz” Farrow put on a try scoring performance, while Drummy and Sonda threw long balls from one end of the Strand Park to the other. The game could only be described as the most free following game of touch most of the spectators would ever had the opportunity to witness (the fact that there were six referees on the game was a great contributor to this).On a more serious note, the weekend in general was a great success and I’m very pleased to still hear players and people that came down to watch the weekend talking about it. But by far the most pleasing aspect was that at the recent NTL in Port Macquarie, North Queensland players had the opportunity to catch up with the Australian players and talk about the weekend (something that North Queensland players, except for the very elite, would never have had the opportunity to do). Tony Trad played assistant coach for 2 games, to the North Queensland Open Women at the recent NTL, something that the players and coaching staff were extremely thrilled to have occur.The weekend ran extremely smoothly. On Friday afternoon the team was slit into 2. 1 team visited Kirwan High School and the other William Ross High School. Players conducted drills and training sessions at both schools, photos were taken and players signed whatever the kids put in front of them.Saturday started slowly….it was extremely hot! Tony Trad conducted a coaching session with the Level 2 course attendants and about 25 local coaches. Tony gave an overview of the game as he saw it and then conducted a training session with the Australian men for the coaches to view. Generally most coaches got a great appreciation of where their own limitations lay and general areas of how to improve or bring up to speed the team they are coaching with the latest policies and techniques.Saturday afternoon saw the team head down to Queens Park to conduct a kids coaching clinic. 60 kids of varying ages were run through skill drills, small games and passing techniques. I think the Aussie men had more fun than the kids as they ran around showing off, the willing and encouraging group of youngsters just watched on in awe. Again the kids had the chance to have photo’s taken, receive signed touch balls and generally have a chat to the guys after they finished.I think the highlight of the weekend for the players was being drafted into the local Men’s 1st division teams and being able to play within these teams. Both Sharks and Frogs presented their drafted team players with club uniforms as a memento of their time in Townsville. The Aussie team did a great job of backing up after a full day of activity to participate in a game against an invitational Townsville team. Under lights about 300 players and spectators again got to witness the best that Australian Touch has to offer.Sunday morning for 3 lucky young players was probably the highlight of their touch career. Betty, Alan and Lochie got warm-up, train and play with the Aussie men’s team. They were given playing shirts, subbed off and on and were involved in the half time and full time debriefs.All-in-all the weekend was a huge success and well received by all. This isn’t to say that there weren’t a number of things that could have been done better or improved upon for next time. General notice period could have been better, organization of the player’s time and commitments could be improved, allowing the players to have greater recovery time. The heat had a major impact on the players and for next time a winter timing would be far more suitable. The lack of support from regional areas outside Townsville also needs to be improved.I will finish on a really positive note and say that we could not have hoped to have hosted a better bunch of guys. They conducted themselves in an outstanding manner on and off the field. They made themselves available to the kids, players, coaches, parents and anyone else that wanted their attention. A big thank you to Gavin Shuker, who without this opportunity would never have been possible and also to Tony Trad and TFA for considering and supporting the concept.Now we have a great relationship with the coaching staff and players I believe that we have the opportunity to have more programs like this come North Queensland’s way.Thanks to Anita Hagarty for providing the article content.