Grading night report

Last Wednesday 25 teams registered for the 2004/2005 Shepparton Touch Association season. With 3 other teams a possibility this will see about 300 players take the fields each Wednesday evening at McEwan Reserve.
Grading is once again a headache for organizers with many new teams and many teams making massive changes to line ups from previous years. Last season's division 1 grand finalists Hot Steppers and Titans both look to be very strong again this season but look to have new challenge on the horizon with Puckapunyal making a return to the Shepparton competition. They were last in the competition in 1996/7 when they won the first division final. Titans look to have a similar make up to last year but Hot Steppers have a few omissions from their duel premiership team. Jayde McFarland has formed her own team Cyclones which includes gun players Ashley Shipham and Alena Jones. Roaders and Kamikazes look likely to make up the top grade and should be able to improve on last years solid efforts.
Jade Skinner has also left Hot Steppers to form a team called Allstars and Paul Cornelius has formed an unnamed team after also defecting from the reigning champions. These two teams should be in division 2 along with Simpsons who have dropped a division, Gunners who will be close to the top again, Plastered and Vikings who were both very competitive last year.
There is a large group of mid range teams who will need to sorted out next week including teams from last year such as Landmark, Pipeline, GTM, SKM, Bonlac (newly renamed Purple Noodles) and Pelicans. The school based teams, Grammar and the 2 Notre Dame teams are unknown qualities at the moment with some older students moving on and younger ones replacing them.
Some interesting new teams are Wanganui, which is mostly teachers from the Secondary College, Roadblock and Team Dodgey all of which look to have a lot of learning to do.
Other possible teams include Panthers, which seems to be loosely based on some of the old Panthers premiership teams from a number of years back and a team formed from the basis of the local Rugby Union team. Kelly Keating is also looking to form a team and needs to contact organizers if she is still interested.
The grading of teams is tentative at this stage and organizers will review the situation after the first two weeks of regular games and make any adjustments to the draws to ensure all teams are able to play in a relatively even competition.


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