The Mudgee Guardian as well as several other media organisations have been leading the charge, with some great previews in the lead up to the series. To view the stories, please click on the links below:
Debutant Has A Touch Of Class
It will be touch and go for two locals when they represent Australia at Mudgee this weekend.
Daniel Barton from Greystanes and Wentworthville resident Nicole McHugh will don the green and gold during the Trans Tasman touch football tournament against New Zealand.
Senior Role For Young Emilee
She might still be in her teens but Emilee Cherry will take on a leadership role in the Australian women's team at this week's trans-Tasman touch tournament in country New South Wales.
The 19-year-old national touch and rugby sevens representative has been named vice-captain of the Australian women's team for the three-match series against New Zealand in Mudgee, which starts today and also features open men's and open mixed teams.
Best In The World In Mudgee
Australia and New Zealand were side by side in the battlefields at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.
Fast forward 97 years and the two nations will go head-to-head on a different kind of battlefield – Mudgee’s Glen Willow.
This Is Our Backyard
Australian men's touch player Dylan Hennessey says Australia can continue their dominance over New Zealand at this week's Trans-Tasman series.
The two best touch football nations in the world will play against each other over three days at Mudgee's Glen Willow.
Kiwis Are In Mudgee To Win
New Zealand men's coach Peter McIntyre has fired an Anzac Day warning to the three Australian opens teams for this week's Trans-Tasman Touch series in Mudgee - "We're coming to win."
The kiwis arrived in Mudgee yesterday following a weekend training camp fine tuning their skills for the three-match Test series.
Twins Will Have Kiwis Seeing Double
Tomorrow night will be family night for the Etheridge household.
Twin sisters Nikki and Gemma will play together for the first time in the Australian mixed opens side.
An Honour To Lead Team: Graham
Representing your country is one thing, captaining them is completely different.
New Zealand's Mita Graham will lead the men's side into battle for the first time of his touch football career when they play Australia tomorrow night (Thursday) at 8.40pm in Mudgee.
Lovett Loves A Challenge
He has been a success at the youth level but Michael Lovett will be stepping into unfamiliar territory at Mudgee next week.
Lovett is the head coach of the Australian mixed opens touch football team.
Australia Name Teams For Mudgee Clash
Expect to see quick, skillful and thrilling touch football when the two best teams in the world renew their rivalry at Mudgee in a fortnight's time.
Australia and New Zealand will go head-to-head in the Trans-Tasman Test Series to be played over three days at Glen Willow from April 26.
The Next Players In Line To Help The Australian Women’s Team
Two 17-year-olds will make their opens debut for Australia as the women's touch football side goes through a transitional phase ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
Coach Peter Bell will take control of a side down on experience but possessing plenty of youth.
Physical Trans Tasman Matches To Continue In Mudgee
Tony Trad is under no illusions his Australian men's team faces a stern test against the kiwis at Mudgee in 10 days.
The best two touch football teams in the world will square off at Glen Willow in three matches as part of the Trans-Tasman Test Series.
Touch Me If You Can
Ben Moylan has been making more than a tap — he’s been making a big impact at the touch football caper.
Touch Trio In National Squads
Three Toowoomba players have earned selection in Australian touch football teams for this month's trans-Tasman series against New Zealand in New South Wales.
World Cup winner Emilee Cherry has kept her place in the women's open squad while Nikki and Gemma Etheridge have gained places in the mixed open squad.
St Kilda Sports Star To Line Up For Australia
A star turn by Leah Percy at last month’s National Touch Rugby Championships has been rewarded.
Percy, a midfielder, was named the player of the series after leading Victoria to a third-place finish, the best Victoria has had.
Gong Reps Expecting Tight Tests With Kiwis
Illawarra Mercury, 12/04/2012
Wollongong will have its strong touch football connections on show later this month when four representatives compete against New Zealand.
Terry Deegan (men's), Michael Chapman (mixed) and Jess McCall and Bianca Mounsey (women's) will be part of Australia's three-pronged series against the Kiwis in Mudgee.
Chapman and Mounsey are among 16 debutants.
"I've played a couple of times but it's all been juniors - this is my first open squad," Chapman said.
"I'm pretty happy with being selected. It's a big achievement and it's obviously the next step in my touch career.
"I've always been counting on being in the Australian side in the next few years but I didn't think it would come so soon.
"Hopefully this paves the way for the next few campaigns as well."
The three-Test series will be the first since the 2011 World Cup finals, when Australia narrowly won each division.
Australia also took a clean sweep in the 2009 and 2010 Trans Tasman Series.
McCall said Australia needed to adapt quickly to the influx of debutants.
"In the women's, there's only seven of us left from the World Cup team last year due to injuries, pregnancies or retirements. There's nine new players," she said.
"It's a fresh start for us, and because the team only got picked recently and the competition's less than 20 days away, getting to know how one another play is probably the biggest challenge.
"New Zealand are always strong, no matter where or when we play them.
"They're always a tough opposition but hopefully we will get away with the win."
The series will be held at Mudgee's Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex from April 26 to April 28.
Sisters To Pose Double Trouble
The Toowoomba Chronicle, 20/04/2012
Nikki and Gemma Etheridge have come a long way since playing touch football as kids in the backyard.
The 25-year-old twin sisters have reached the elite level of their sport, representing Australia in the 2012 Trans-Tasman Series.
Nikki and Gemma will be part of the open mixed team for the three-game series against New Zealand starting in Mudgee on Thursday. The Etheridges have both represented Australia in the under-18s but this is the first time they've had the chance to play together at open level.
“It's very competitive in our household,” Gemma said.
“If one of us makes the team and the other one doesn't, it's a bit disheartening. We were jumping around in the lounge room (when we heard we'd both made it).”
For Gemma, it is an honour that has been a long time coming.
She has been named in the Australian squad twice before, only to miss out with a horror run of injuries. “It's exciting for me after being so close for so many times,” Gemma said.
“I've been in the squad before but then I did my knee and had a knee reconstruction.
“Then I got back in the squad and broke my leg. It's a good ending to some hard years really.”
Nikki, on the other hand, has been a regular member of the Australian squad since the Trans-Tasman Series began in 2009. The Aussies have had the wood on the Kiwis, winning both series and last year's World Cup, and Nikki admitted the pressure was on to keep their winning streak alive.
“It's always a good grudge match,” she said.
“I played in the last two Trans Tasmans (and) it's a very physical game. They don't mind putting the shoulders in.”
Australia will field a new-look open mixed side with nine players, including Gemma, set to make their green and gold debuts.
They will have just two training camps before the series starts and Nikki admitted that even her combination with her sister might take some time to gel.
“It's a short preparation. We haven't really been together as a team yet,” Nikki said. “We play a lot of women's rather than mixed so it's a whole new concept we have to get used to as well. We'll at least be able to play at the same time on the field.”
Despite the pressures of representing their country, the twins said they planned to make the most of the experience.
“It's exciting to play for Australia,” Nikki said.
“To stand and sing the national anthem and watch the haka – it's not something that you get to see all the time.”
Australian Touch Footy Rep
Just one country player has made it into the Australian Mixed Touch Football team ahead of a three-test match series starting later this month.
And, you guessed it, she comes from the Mid North Coast.
The Opportunity To Represent Australia
Manning River Times, 13/04/2012
The opportunity to represent Australia in front of her family was enough incentive for Kylie Hilder to have one last campaign with the Australian mixed touch team,
The Australians will play New Zealand in a three-test Trans Tasman series at Mudgee from April 26-28.
Hilder made a comeback to international touch last year when she was a member of the World Cup winning Australian mixed team in Scotland. After returning home the Taree touch product said that would be her finale in open competition.
Hilder won two World Cups with the Australian women's side and one with the mixed. However, she hasn't represented Australia in Australia since 2001 and this was another reason she was keen to have a crack at the Kiwis.
"But the biggest incentive was being able to have my three boys (husband Troy and sons Ashton, 7 and Nate, 3) watch me for the first time in Aussie colours,'' she said.
The preliminary squads were selected after the National Touch League (NTL) at Port Macquarie last month.
"We had final selection trials at Penrith last weekend,'' Hilder explained.
"This is a completely new team from last year and we also have a new coach. I was very lucky to keep spot in the middle, as they have taken a new direction by bringing youth through for the next phase for the next World Cup. There were 19 girls were fighting for seven spots.''
Hilder will definitely retire from the open division after the series.
"They are getting way too fast and so much fitter,'' she admits.
The squad goes into camp on Saturday April 21 in Sydney for three days before heading to Mudgee. All games will be in the new stadium in Mudgee.
Hilder is a former Australian women's rugby league representative. She's back playing league this year with the Maitland Pickers in the Sydney competition, hoping to make the State side to meet Queensland.
This match will be played before the Knights-West Tigers NRL fixture and will be televised. Hilder is also a member of the premiership winning Forster-Tuncurry league tag side.
They Are Often The Most Disliked People…
Dubbo Daily Liberal, 25/04/2012
They are often the most disliked people on a sporting field but referees are a necessity.
And if you are good at the job, the art of whistleblowing can be quite rewarding.
Just ask Mick Medlin, who will referee at his second Trans-Tasman touch football championships at Mudgee this weekend.
In his younger days Medlin plied his trade as a player but now he is more comfortable with whistle in hand.
Refereeing has taken him to all parts of the world and he admits he has reached a much higher level than he would have as a player.
"I've done two World Cups in South Africa and New Zealand, this is my second Trans-Tasman series and I've reffed at 14-straight national championships," he said.
"I used to play but I got a couple of bad injuries and when you get the level 6 as a referee they encourage you not to play. But I love the game and without the refs it wouldn't happen so I'm still playing my part and being involved."
The Trans-Tasman series consists of three games per day this Thursday, Friday and Saturday - one in each of the men's, women's and mixed divisions. Medlin will referee the mixed match on Thursday but hopes that by the end of the tournament he will have done well enough to officiate in a mens match.
"There's not many spots available at these events and they have a New Zealand ref coming over as well so that meant one less spot was available," he said.
"There will be a panel there that assesses the referees' performances and hopefully by the end of it I am up to doing a mens match."
Medlin, spends his working hours as a station officer with the local fire brigade, only moved to Dubbo last year with his wife Corrine and their young family and he hopes having an official of his experience will help the local touch association.
Arguably the fastest-growing sport in Dubbo, touch football is becoming increasingly popular and as a result more officials are always needed.
"I'm hoping that I can help build the referee ranks here in Dubbo and get some of the locals up to the higher levels," Medlin said.
"Robbie McKechnie achieved his level four not long ago and hopefully we can get more people to that stage and even further."
Straight After ANZAC Day The Trans Tasman…
Dubbo Daily Liberal, 25/04/2012
Straight after Anzac Day the Trans-Tasman Touch Football Series will be played over three days at the Glen Willow Sporting Complex at Mudgee.
Australia will play New Zealand in divisions for men, women and mixed open over Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a best of three series in each division.
The rivalry between the two nations is as fierce as ever since the reintroduction of the Trans-Tasman Series in 2009.
Australia is the current title holders in the Youth, Open and Masters divisions, having claimed these titles over the past two years.
Australia is still on a high from its 2011 World Cup performance, which was played in Scotland, winning all three Open titles against the Kiwis and is hopeful of defending its Trans-Tasman title, while New Zealand is determined to reverse the result and cause an upset for the Australian teams in their own backyard.
Players will also march in the Anzac Day parade in Mudgee today, prior to the event. It is symbolic that they will meet on the Anzac weekend, an occasion very special to both proud nations.
Touch Football Australia chief executive officer Colm Maguire is looking forward to the series in Mudgee, saying that the facilities at the complex are first class.
"I am sure that this multi-sport facility will appeal to many sports and I am sure Mudgee is going to see many large sporting events wanting to use Glen Willow.
"We are thrilled to be one of the first sports to confirm our commitment to such a facility and believe this signals a strong return on investment for the vision of the Council," Maguire said.
"The time that they have put into bringing this facility into fruition has been outstanding, so just to be here and see what we'll be playing on and what it will look like, undoubtedly it's one of the best facilities in New South Wales, if not Australia."
Planning A Touch Up
Sunshine Coast Daily 25/04/2012
TOUCH FOOTBALL: It would be hard to criticise veteran Australian representative Peta Rogerson for being cocky going into this week's trans-Tasman series against New Zealand.
In the history of matches between the two countries, the Kiwis have won only once.
So if the script goes according to plan for Rogerson this week, the Aussies will again obliterate NZ and the 30-year-old will have done enough to show selectors that her legs are still fresh enough to see off younger challengers.
Speaking in Sydney yesterday, the Nambour product said this Australian line-up did not want to be the one that lost a second match to the Kiwis.
“Obviously, it (Australia's winning streak) does add considerable pressure on to the team,” Rogerson said.
“Our coach Peter Bell, who is based on the Sunshine Coast, has explained to us that we're a new team and we've got to make our own history.”
The series starts tomorrow and concludes on Saturday.