Island Breeze coast to victory/Newsport
Monday, March 3, 2014
Port Douglas Rugby Sevens tournament organisers say the annual sporting carnival has 'exceeded expectations' with a record crowd on hand over the weekend.
More than 700 spectators watched on as Townsville-based Fijian side Island Breeze won the tournament, defeating Cairns' Aspired 33-7 in the final on Saturday evening.
Defending champions, the Tabubil Cats from Papua New Guinea finished third.
James Cook University Townsville won the maiden women's title beating Cairns-based Southside, 15-7.
Organiser Shane Branch said both teams were deserving winners.
"They were both very, very talented football teams," he said.
"The Island Breeze's overall skill, I don't think I remember them dropping the ball.
"They were extremely physical and extremely talented.
"It was probably the best level we've had yet."
A record 19 teams participated in the tournament with an estimated $10,000 taken at the gate and concession stands.
Mr Craft said the money raised would go towards organising next year's event.
Port Douglas hotels and restaurants reported a spike in business, he said, with the potential to grow the tournament again next year.
"It really does bring money to the region," Mr Craft said.
"We want to get it to the point where it yields $20 million a year for the town.
"It might take a few years but we've got plenty of interest."
Mr Craft said plans are in place to double the number of teams competing next year and potentially extend the event across two days.