It was Regional Games glory for the Gaels of Geelong and Gold Coast, while three clubs made their competition debuts at a sun-soaked Harold Hurst Reserve in Geelong on Saturday 11 November.
The fifth edition of the competition, it was the biggest yet with 14 women’s and men’s teams across seven clubs lining out. It was also a competition of firsts, featuring several first-time players, clubs and winners.
In the women’s competition, five teams competed in the group stage: Ballarat Clovers, Geelong Gaels Blue, Geelong Gaels Red, Gold Coast Gaels, and Young Melbourne. After a competitive group stage and semi-finals, it was the two Geelong sides who met in the final. In this local derby, the more experienced Blue side – who boasted 2023 Australasia World Games reps such as Tahlia Tatlock, Tess DeGrandi and Tamara Knox – claimed a solid win over a gallant, youthful Red side, who have several young players who will no doubt make their mark for Geelong, and indeed Victoria, in future competitions.
Congratulations to Ballarat Clovers and Young Melbourne – Victoria’s two newest clubs – on making their Regional Games debut. It was Young Melbourne’s first time fielding a women’s team since their foundation in 2016, and to make the semi-final was an impressive feat.
The men’s football featured nine teams across two groups, and it was the Gaels of Geelong and Gaels of the Gold Coast who progressed through the group stage and semi-finals to set up a mouth-watering final. With both clubs celebrating their 10-year anniversaries in 2023, it was fitting that they would play the decider. While Geelong were hoping to top off their anniversary year with a repeat of the 2018 women’s and men’s double, Gold Coast were looking to mark theirs with a maiden trophy for the club.
The final was a thrilling contest between two evenly matched teams. However, the Gaels from Queensland, who were potent in front of goal all day, built up an early lead and managed to keep an organised and hard-working Geelong Maroon side at bay until the final whistle. Jubilant scenes followed amongst the Gold Coast players, management and supporters. Following on from their memorable win in the Queensland championship earlier this year, this victory will leave the club with plenty to celebrate at their anniversary celebrations at the end of the month.
A special mention to the newly formed Cairns Chieftains who played at their first Regional Games, and recorded two draws before succumbing to their fellow Queenslanders in the semi-final. Also, Victorian clubs Ballarat Clovers and Young Melbourne, who fielded two teams of primarily Australian-born players, featured at their first Regional Games.
“It was a fantastic day of Gaelic football in Geelong”, said Geelong Gaels President and player, John Reaney. “Congratulations to the Gold Coast Gaels on winning their first men’s trophy, and also to our very own women’s team who went back to back.”
“We’d like thank Manifold Heights Cricket Club for their support in hosting the games. Also, thanks Cr Trent Sullivan, Mayor of Greater Geelong for presenting the women’s trophy, and Ambassador of Ireland to Australia, H.E. Tim Mawe for travelling from Canberra to be in attendance for the day’s events and presenting the men’s winning trophy”, said John.
John continued, “we appreciate all our volunteers who put in a mountain of work on the day and over the past few months, including the Gaelic Football & Hurling Association of Australasia for their huge effort and support in providing a fantastic set of games.”
“Finally, to all the clubs who travelled to make these the best games to date, thank you so much and we hope you enjoyed the weekend.”
No doubt we’re already looking forward to Tasmania in 2024.
Congratulations to the tournament All-Stars for their fine performances on the day, and a special bualadh bos to the players of the tournament: Tahlia Tatlock of Geelong Gaels women’s team, and Patrick Meehan of Gold Coast Gaels men’s team.
Get ready for the fifth edition of the Australasia Regional Games, which throws in at Hurst Reserve, Geelong, Victoria on Saturday 11 November 2023.
Men’s and women’s teams from across Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Queensland will converge on Geelong to battle it out for national silverware in this seven-a-side Gaelic football competition.
Held annually, the competition caters to Australasia teams in regional areas, as well as teams with predominantly non-Irish-born players. Having hosted their first Regional Games in 2018, Geelong Gaels are excited to welcome teams from across the country back to the Pivot City, with promises that this will be the best edition yet.
So mark it in your diaries now. It’s going to be a brilliant day of Gaelic football, and another great opportunity to witness the quality of Australasia’s homegrown talent.
Stay up to date with tournament fixtures and information on the Australasia Regional Games 2023 page.