Touch football: Port Macquarie's Jack Lewis wins first National Touch League gold medal at Coffs Harbour

Important win: Jack Lewis (pictured playing with Eastern Suburbs) won his first NTL final at Coffs Harbour on March 14. Photo: supplied
Important win: Jack Lewis (pictured playing with Eastern Suburbs) won his first NTL final at Coffs Harbour on March 14. Photo: supplied

JACK Lewis claimed his first-ever National Touch League gold medal at Coffs Harbour on March 14 - and it was just in the nick of time.

Had it have been any later, he would have been forced to wait a little longer to secure his first piece of success with his new team in his first significant stint in the competition.

For the last decade, the Sydney Rebels had appeared in eight NTL senior mixed open finals so the time to join a new team couldn't have been much better.

Lewis admitted he didn't have the best tournament, but still fulfilled his role as the Rebels held off South Queensland Sharks 8-6 in the final.

An 8-all draw with Sydney Metro early in the tournament proved to be their only hiccup as the Rebels registered eight wins from their nine matches.

"Thank god it was last weekend and not the week after," Lewis said.

"I didn't have my best tournament, but I had a role to play and felt like I did my role to a level that was needed which ended up working out.

I didn't have my best tournament, but I had a role to play and felt like I did my role to a level that was needed.

Jack Lewis

"It wasn't really about setting anything up, but our job was to get metres and if we could get a penalty the attacking team could do what they needed to do."

Trying to balance lawn bowls with touch football commitments meant the 25-year-old had rarely thought of what it would mean to achieve a national medal.

"I never thought it would happen anytime soon because being committed to lawn bowls, the paths normally cross over," he said.

"So when they didn't I took the opportunity to play with the team and knowing what they had accomplished, we were pretty confident going into the tournament."

Lewis had previously played in the NTL competition back in 2013 with the Mid North Coast-based Northern Eagles, but his 2020 campaign was one where success was more likely.

"We probably weren't much of a shot back then and the Rebels are a very accomplished team," he said.

"Last year they lost in the semi-final so there was always a hunger and a bit of determination to get back into the final and win it again."

The Beechwood product had an interrupted preparation leading into the Coffs Harbour tournament.

I never thought it would happen anytime soon because being committed to lawn bowls, the paths normally cross over.

Jack Lewis

He suffered a neck injury during Port Macquarie's mixed open semi-final defeat at the NSW State Cup in December which required him to take it easy for a few weeks.

"I got everything realigned from an osteo and everything has been awesome since; it's probably the most I've ever trained for a tournament," he said.

The decision to prioritise touch football over lawn bowls eventually came with the rewards.

"I probably wasn't as committed to lawn bowls as much as I could have been because I was training for touch, but in the end I guess the rewards came with it," Lewis said.

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