GOLD: Jess Bourke has recently returned from Malaysia's Youth Touch World Cup for Australia with gold.
GOLD: Jess Bourke has recently returned from Malaysia's Youth Touch World Cup for Australia with gold. Molly Hancock

Touch football's golden girl

Touch football: Jess Bourke has made Roma proud after recently returning from Malaysia's Youth Touch World Cup with a gold medal dangling around her neck.

The 18-year-old was selected in the Australian under-18 girls' squad of 14 after being scouted from the NRL Premiership competition.

With her family by her side, Jess made the eight- hour flight to Kuala Lumpur for the four-day competition.

In the lead-up, Jess undertook two training camps to prepare for competition and to help adapt to the humidity.

"The Australian team scouted from the NRL Premiership through the Cowboys, which I play for this year, and the Queensland Fire team, where I played in last year,” she said.

"I was then sent a letter inviting me to come to the Gold Coast for a squad training over two days.

"I then received a phone call two weeks later to say I had been selected in the team,” Jess said.

The competition kicked off at the Equestrian Park, Putrajaya, on Wednesday, August 8.

"The conditions in other countries is very different,” she said.

"The heat was extraordinary and to play in those conditions was crazy: Some people even got heat stroke.”

Jess said the U18 division went up against New Zealand, Singapore, America, Malaysia and South Africa before coming up against New Zealand again for the grand final.

"We versed New Zealand in the grand final and it was a bit of positive for them - they loved the breaks more because they aren't as used to the heat as us.

"We won 11--3 but, at half time it was 3-2 to us, so it was really close. It did blow out towards the end because the New Zeandlers struggled under the heat,” Jess said.


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