LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: Performance and Pathways Manager Tristan Mana.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: Performance and Pathways Manager Tristan Mana. Cody Fox

Sport boss says 'touch is the game of the people'


Mana was appointed to his role in November and is responsible for creating pathways from juniors to seniors.

"My focus is to engage with the regional touch communities and develop opportunities for players and officials,” he said.

"Metropolitan areas have plenty of opportunities but we need to work with areas like Dalby, Fraser Coast, Cairns and Bundaberg to improve available resources for them.”

The task for Mana appears large but he works by a simple philosophy.

"Touch is the game of the people,” he said.

"Everyone plays their sport whether it's league, cricket or whatever and touch.”

"I know from experience that you can engage entire communities in the game.”

The former resort worker travelled around Australia for work and touch travelled with him. When working at Hamilton Island, he started a touch competition.

He repeated it again at Margaret River and Ayres Rock.

The New Zealand-born Mana has been involved in touch football for over 26 years as a player, coach and now administrator.

He has represented New Zealand and Queensland as a player and believes his experiences give him a good understanding of what is required across the game.

"In the September school holidays we are introducing our new program to develop the sport,” he said.

"Our curriculum will roll out with a 'Priority 10' component.”

Touch Queensland have included 10 skill-based concepts to develop through the youth programs.

The program has three tiers including development academies which will focus on the "fun” of the game.

Level two will concentrate on performance academies focusing on skill acquisition while the the final level includes three-day performance camps.

The new program forms part of the governance and operational review that Touch Queensland have been undertaking over the past few months.

Touch Queensland CEO Ben Mannion believes that is a cornerstone for the future growth of the sport.

"Our focus is on investing in all stakeholders and creating easier accessibility to the sport,” Mannion said

Mana is thankful that touch football has played such a large role in his life and knows that it does for many other families as well.

"What other sport allows you to play with your daughter, wife, son or even mum and have some fun?” Mana said.

"Our sport is a family sport and my role is to create opportunities and pathways for everyone to enjoy it.”