Girls have always been tops in touch

Katrina Toohey is one of the queens of touch football – she played for Australia from 1986 to 1999, in 25 World Cup games and nine Tests, with a total of 34 caps. And she never tasted defeat at an Australian level.

These days Katrina (nee Maher), also known as Kit, heads to NSW Junior State Cup (JSC) for the five kids she has with husband Gary Toohey. Gary also played for Australia, so that’s how the pair met. It’s no wonder their kids have inherited touch footy talent.

Kit thinks that one of the great things about touch is that the women’s game has never been considered inferior to the men’s game. “I think it’s great that women’s sport is more popular now and that women have opportunities in all sorts of sports that they wouldn’t have had before, but in touch football, women have always been regarded as highly as the men,” she says.

“I never felt, even back then, that women’s touch was looked down on, less well respected than men’s.

“People new to the game have been surprised about how great women’s touch is to watch,” she continues. “Some people even say they prefer watching women’s touch over men’s touch, because the skill is sometimes higher due to the slightly slower nature.”

Katrina and Gary’s three boys and two girls love playing touch, and she loves that it helps them gain skills. “Touch offers everything: speed, agility, ball skills, fitness, athleticism, the ability to do those crazy dives you see in rugby league.”

She also loves that she gets to come to JSC thanks to her kids. “Junior State Cup wasn’t around when I was a kid, but I think it’s a great opportunity for all the kids here, they get to meet and play against kids from all around,” she says.

“Many of the teams you play are from country areas, places a lot of the kids have never heard of. The standard is really high, and it gives the kids a taste of that high-level competition. And also it’s nice to come away and spend time in a team atmosphere away from home. All the fun that comes with touring.”

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