And so is the game’s next crop of stars 

THEY’RE fed up with chasing young upstarts around the pitch. Now some of the state’s most passionate footballers can pick on players their own size.

Cookbundoon playing fields will this weekend accommodate more than 150 veteran footballers, many of whom will go hammer-and-thong on the field and all of whom will share a drink and a laugh postmatch.

On Sunday, just as the over 35s contingent shape up for finals, the next generation of stars in the round-ball game will showcase their talent.

Junior representative teams from Southern NSW pit their skills against the best from Western NSW and the Riverina’s finest.

The Southern NSW outfits are filled with the players from the Southern Tablelands, the Highlands, Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven and Far South Coast.

Unlike the veterans tournament, the junior fixtures aren’t a one-off. The young guns will return in March for a second gala day set to feature the best the Capital Football region has to offer.

In a nutshell, the weekend is a football fiesta.

“Most guys just come to play hard and have a beer after the game,” Darrell Orton, an organiser and player, said.

Orton says the event is well supported, given peoples’ work and family commitments.

“This is a great social event and is still in its early stages,” he said.

“It’s hard to get people or players to play in these events due to family commitments, work, time and money.”

Twelve teams from areas including the Shoalhaven, Highlands, Canberra, Wagga and Temora will vie for veterans’ supremacy.

Two teams from Goulburn will also lineup.

Orton says defending champions the Burradoo Blues are again firming as the team to beat.

The junior representative fixtures will complement the veteran showdowns.

Twenty-five games will be contested across six hours and six age divisions on Sunday.

Proceedings kick-off with matches between the Western Zone under 9s representative team and the best the Southern Branch has to offer.

Sunday’s round robin tournament finishes with an under 15s clash between Griffith and Western Zone.

In excess of 200 players, among them locals, are set to lace up their boots for the occasion.

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