Touch football's biggest junior stage will touch down at Waratahs Sportsground this weekend when hundreds of youngsters from all across the state land for NSW Touch Football's 2019 Junior Regionals this weekend.
Those hundreds of players might not be the only things landing, with millions of snowflakes potentially spicing things up and potentially - hopefully, according to the home coaches - providing a home-ground advantage for the 19 Orange juniors lining up in Hunter-Western Hornets representative sides.
The Hornets are made up of feeder clubs across both the Central West and Hunter Valley region, with the 19 juniors from Orange Thunder Touch.
Thunder representative coordinator Joel Begnell is also the assistant coach of the under-18 side and said it was a massive weekend for the city, for the sport and for those who have made the cut in Hornets outfits.
He said each of the sides had gone through high-performance camps but the under 18s, featuring Orange junior Rhys French, had gone the extra mile with a scratch match against the Newcastle Knights' touch football champion side.
You have to be very switched on to take on these coastal teams but these Orange girls have shown you can get it done after their work over the past 12 months.Hornets under-12 girls' coach Alistaire Thompson
"That taught them a lot about what they needed to do and where we're sitting," he said.
He said the cold would "absolutely" play a factor.
"Players are going to be coming from Sydney, from the coast and they're going to find it a bit cold but our players will be used to it," Begnell said.
Orange hosting the carnival, both this weekend and in 2021, would be "fantastic" for the junior game according to Begnell and have a flow-on effect both in junior numbers and improving the calibre of players lining up for the Thunder.
That's despite the club already having their highest number of players selected in Hornets sides in its history, with a massive six of those lining up in the under-12s Hornets side.
The under-12s will be coached by Alistaire Thompson, who's also the president of the Wellington Touch Association, and he said having six girls from the same side was fantastic.
"They play so well as a team and know each other so well which is what it's all about at this level," Thompson said.
"You have to be very switched on to take on these coastal teams but these Orange girls have shown you can get it done after their work over the past 12 months."
Players are going to be coming from Sydney, from the coast and they're going to find it a bit cold but our players will be used to it.Orange Thunder representative coordinator Joel Begnall on the conditions over the weekend
Those six are Ava Cole, Haylee Besant, Layla Barrett, Lilly Clarke, Miah Naden and Mya Simmons, and Thompson is hoping the group with be something of a "secret weapon" in adjusting to the cold while coastal sides are still defrosting.
Despite the difficult preparation - with players selected from Orange all the way up to Nelson's Bay, Thompson praised the dedication of players and their families ahead of the carnival and for their work while in camp.
"It's a good age to have them because they're all such good listeners, still all about having fun and they've all gelled together," Thompson said.
"It's the first time we've had under 12s at this level, it normally starts at under 14s so we're all very excited.
"There are no nerves yet but I'm sure on the day there will be."
The opening ceremony for the 2019 Junior Regionals is at 1pm on Saturday, with games following from 1.15pm.
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