Interbranch Champs Revamped

An elite team of representatives from each of the 11 Surf Life Saving Branches from this Saturday will be journeying to Cape Hawke on the state’s Lower North Coast for an intense weekend of competition.

Changes to this year’s Interbranch Championships has smaller branches looking to capitalise on the new format.

The changes made to the 2015 event will see the inclusion of a Branch of Origin rule, drafting which will ultimately give the smaller branches access to a wider pool of talent and a wild card.

Surf Life Saving NSW has brought in the Branch of Origin rule which gives country branches the option to pick a former open competitor who hasn’t been selected by their primary branch.

Meanwhile, drafting has been included to give the smaller teams a chance to select available athletes from stronger regions. The benefits of this practice are enormous – the selected athlete will get a chance to further their own representative experience while the competition will be tighter across the bar.

The third change to this weekend’s event will give each branch one wild card that can be used to gain for double points in an event. It will be up to the captains and coaches to determine how to use this change tactically.

With the three new additions to the Interbranch format, and the usual competitiveness that any surf carnival brings, Surf Sports Manager, Rob Pidgeon, is anticipating a highly competitive event.

“We have brought the changes in to better align with January’s Interstate Championships in Victoria and I’m very excited to see how the branches adapt,” said Rob Pidgeon.

The Interbranch is unique on the surf sports calendar, with a maximum of 40 athletes from each branch, comprised of three male and female competitors in the Under-12, Under-13, Under-14, Under-15 (comprising the Age Team), Under-17 (Youth Team), Under-19 and Open age groups making up the Open Team.

With such a limited amount of athletes contesting each event, points will be at a premium during the two-day carnival, and finishing on the podium for your branch will be crucial in deciding who gets to take home the ultimate prize.

For the athletes themselves, the carnival is their last opportunity to push their chances of being named in the state team, which is anticipated to be announced on Sunday evening following the competition.

Sydney Northern Beaches are the defending champions, while their main rival Sydney will be keen to reclaim top spot as they did in 2013. Central Coast and Hunter are also teams to watch with a number of talented athletes wanting to prove themselves on the big stage.

Country branches; Far North Coast, North Coast, Mid North Coast, Lower North Coast, South Coast, and Far South Coast will be using the event as their last chance to tune up against their bigger rivals before resuming training for next month’s Country Championships.

“The Interbranch is always a tough event with every branch determined to do their best and score crucial points over their rivals - it’s always hard to predict a winner.

“Sydney Northern Beaches will be doing their best to defend their success from last year, but I am sure the other branches will be hot on their heels,” Mr Pidgeon said.

Full event details, team lists, timetables and results can be found on the NSW Interbranch Championships Event Page.

Wed 9 Dec 2015