History

The Tasmanian Touch Association (TTA) was formed on November 1, 1981 involving associations from throughout Tasmania. Prior to this date the Hobart competition had been known as the TTA but following the formation of the true TTA became the Southern Tasmanian Touch Assoc, and later Southern Touch. Prior to the official beginnings of the TTA, Tasmanian mens team attended the 1980 national championships in Queensland. Captained by Tom Dick and managed by Ron Ellis the side contained players such as Graham Hickey, Kim Green , Keith Ohlsen and Glen Chiffey. The first ever Tasmanian womens team attended the 1982 national championships. Coached by Kim Green the side included players such as Jenny Geappen, Wendy Crocker, Sally Collins and Elenie Casimaty. Also at the 1982 national championships in Canberra, Tasmania's Paul Blacklock became the first ever Tasmanian selected in an Australian team. Blacklock was selected in the mens side also with 9 other players from Queensland, New South Wales and ACT. In 1983 the TTA was given the honour of hosting the national championships. It was significant that the TTA being only two years old, and being only the third national championships held were able to host the event, played at Hobart's Royal Showgrounds. The season of 1985/86 saw the first Tasmanian Intrastate Touch Series held in Devonport in November. Hobart narrowly defeated Devonport in the mens final and also defeated Devonport in the womens final 3-1. Hobart's Dale Langford and Wendy Crocker won the player of the series awards in their respective divisions. The intrastate series proved a huge success and 1998 was re-structured and re-named the Tasmanian State Cup and now involves six divisions. From the season of 1995/96 the State Cup awarded through points gained in all divisions by each region was introduced with Launceston the inaugural winner. Hobart have been the dominant region of the seventeen Tasmanian State Cup's contested over the years, winning the mens division eleven times, and the womens ten. In May 1992 Tasmania hosted the national championships for a second time and were played at Wentworth Park in Hobart. The event was a huge success and promoted Touch significantly which was reflected by the rapid growth of the Southern Tasmanian Touch Association in the years following the championships. At the tournament two more Tasmanians gained Australian selection. Dale Langford was selected in the mens over 30's team and Stephen Haines in the mens over 35's. Following the tournament the TTA's longest serving president Chris Carstens finished his time as a committee member. The final national championships were held in 1995, and in 1997 the National Touch League was introduced. Tasmania formed part of the Crusaders permit along with the ACT and Victoria. From 1996 Tasmanian teams began competing with the other `developing' states at a selection tournament for the Crusaders and Barbarians who then competed at the National Touch League against 10 other permits from New South Wales and Queensland. The Australian Touch Association introduced the new National Touch League in an attempt to have 12, equal permits competing rather than the situation with the nationals where New South Wales and Queensland dominated every division. Tasmanian's who have gained significant selections in the Crusaders teams include Toby Burgess (mens 2001-2003 and mixed 2000),David Harmey (Mens 2003 and Mixed 1997) Craig Holloway (Mens 2003 and Mixed 2003), Kip McManamey (mens 1997),Mark Holloway (mens 2003) Melanie Bakker (womens 1997), Jill Fish, Jon Harmey and Heath Jamieson (all mixed 2003), and Shannon Hoare (mixed 1998). Stephen Tomlin was a member of the Crusaders mens over 35's national champions in 1998 and 2001 and Mens 40's champions in 2003. Tasmania hosted the Australian Secondary Schools Championships for the first time in September 2000, played at Launceston's NTCA grounds and in 2002 hosted the Australia Cup at Wentworth Park, Hobart. The Australia Cup is the selection tournament for the Crusaders NTL teams. In 2001 to celebrate the TTA's 20th anniversary the TTA inducted it's first life members - Chris Carstens, Dale Langford and Keith Ohlsen. This was followed in 2002 with Ron Ellis and Tom Morley gaining life membership. More details on these life members is available in the life members section.

In 2018, the first Tasmanian Team entered a grand final at the National Touch League in Coffs Harbour. The Senior Mixed Tasmanian team won against the Brisbane City Cobras 10-6 in the grand final, making them Championship winners in their division. The players of the final went to two Tasmanians, Ryan Smyth from Southern Touch and Katie Bessell from Launceston Touch Association. Coached by Toby Burgess and Peter Hampson, this was a thrilling part of history for Touch Football in Tasmania.  

Photo: Ben Langford at the 2001 U/16 National Championships

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