Boost for Wollongong touch side

TOUCH FOOTBALL

Former Australian touch representatives Nicole Beck and Ashleigh Dobbins have returned to boost the Wollongong Red Devils' prospects at this weekend's State Cup at Port Macquarie.

The Red Devils are confident of making it third time lucky after losing to arch-rivals Canterbury in the final for the past two years.

"The girls are really keen to go one better this year," Wollongong Touch Association committee member and spokesman Jared Constable said.

"It's a fairly young team with an average age of 20, and having Ashleigh and Nicole certainly bolsters the group."

Another player expected to shine for the Devils is Jessica McCall, who was recently named for the Australian women's open team to take on New Zealand in a three-match series in Auckland in February.

"Jess capped off a terrific 2012 Vawdon Cup season, winning the player-of-the-year award," Constable said.

"She's really looking forward to the weekend and leading her side with the pride that got them to last month's Vawdon Cup grand final."

Wollongong will also be represented by two men's open teams at Port Macquarie.

National team representative Matt Tope and Terry Deegan head the charge for the Devils' No 1 side, and Steve Sopher is confident his second division team can go a long way through the tournament.

"We're very proud of the teams we're sending away and we've got no doubts they'll give it their very best," Constable said.

This year's tournament has an international flavour, with a Japanese team taking part for the first time.

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