Investment in training sees good start at new UniSport Nationals
Avondale won a bronze medal in an improved showing at the first UniSport Nationals Div 2, a new format for the former Eastern University Games.
The medal came in the four-team women’s touch competition, with the Eagles, playing with far fewer substitutes, beating Western Sydney University. The men, in a competition twice the size, won eight of their 10 games. But a loss to eventual top team Griffith University in the semifinal meant they, too, played for bronze and, beaten by RMIT University, finished fourth.
The women’s volleyball team claimed the same place after winning its first six games—a first for a women’s team from Avondale—but losing its last three, including the semifinal to Flinders University and the bronze medal match to Griffith University.
The Eagles also entered teams in women’s futsal (9th), men’s basketball (10th) and men’s futsal (16th).
None of the Avondale teams gained promotion to UniSport Nationals Div 1— teams must finish in the top two—but based on results from the Australian University Games in 2017, the Eagles will field teams in men’s volleyball and rugby sevens.
Student Life Services invested more in professional training and support services—alumnus and fitness trainer Pr Ray Moaga joined the Eagles and education student Damee Kea, a former state representative, coached the men’s touch team—and begin training earlier in the wake of a lacklustre showing at the games in 2017. It also prioritised the building of team culture. “Each team did its best to support other teams when games were completed for the day,” says Moaga, the Assistant Manager. “It created a bond and, I believe, will enhance culture on campus.” And most students chose to stay at the Eagles’ Gold Coast Christian College base, with Moaga describing the atmosphere as like being on a service learning trip.
After 25 years, the 2017 Australian University Games were the last before the transition to a divisional, national championship model. The UniSport Nationals Div 2, held on the Gold Coast, July 1-5, featured 14 competitions across men’s, women’s, mixed and open categories. As an open entry event, any of the 42-member higher education providers could enter teams if they had not already qualified for Nationals Div 1 in that competition.
Held annually in September, Nationals Div 1 features 33 competitions with only the top 10 teams from the Australian University Games qualifying for each competition. The two lowest placing teams in each competition will be relegated to Div 2.