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In Memoriam

Many of us have lost a loved one at some time or other and although we say to ourselves ‘we will never forget you,’ we often do, unwittingly, by simply putting it to the back of our minds, and relying on memory to recall the life of someone we loved and admired.

Touch has lost many great people, from the pioneers of 1968 to youngster who were taken so cruelly from us in the prime of their life. This section of the Almanac is to remind people that we as a fraternity will not forget those who have crossed our paths and now sadly have passed away.

Any person who wishes to add to the tributes below please complete the contact form below. If you have any of the missing information, dates / photo then please also contact the author. Lastly if you wish to add a name to the list then please advise via the contact form

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The Gallery is a collection of photos and program covers for World Cup and Test Match. This gallery is not designed to take away from the numerous photo of Touch players that are on web site all across the globe, but more to highlight Australia's touch involvement from the beginning. 


        The Early Years       Test Matches        World Cup      Others

Published Works

The formation of the Australian Touch Association Technical Panel in 1986 saw the introduction of gifted Directors who not only set about writing policy for their portfolio but also producing booklets on the skill sets for their Directorship. Many of the publications were updated regularly as the game changed and some coaching booklets were copied by Balmain Rugby League Development Officers for their district juniors. Other booklets became incorporated into various Rule Book publications such as Referee Signals and Rules Interpretations.

List of Publications


  • Touch - The Basic Coaching Manual (ATA Publication - Revised many times)

  • Grids & Drills for Level 0 Touch Players (Dr. Paul Webb & Dennis Coffey 1987)

  • Grids & Drills for Level 1 Touch Players (Dr. Paul Webb & Dennis Coffey 1987)

  • Progressive Drills to Develop Individual Skills in Touch (Dr. Paul Webb & Cary Thompson 1987)

  • Progressive Drills to Develop Catch and Pass Skills in Touch (Dr. Paul Webb & Cary Thompson 1987)

  • Progressive Drills to Develop Sub Unit Skills in Touch (Dr. Paul Webb & Cary Thompson 1987)

  • Principles and Patterns of Team Play for Touch (Alan Satchell & Reg Hart 1988)

  • Advanced Team Plays and Moves (Lee Thompson & Cary Thompson 1992)  



  • Referee Signals for Touch (Judy Begnell 1988)

  • Positional Techniques for Referees and Line Judges in Touch (Barrie Keenahan 1988)

  • Referee Signals for the Sport of Touch (National Referee's Panel 1991)


  • Fitness for Touch (Graeme Murphy 1987)

  • 52 Stretching Activities for Touch (Dr. Paul Webb & Cary Thompson 1988)

  • Advanced Fitness for Touch (Donna O'Connor 1991)

  • Fitness for Referees (Donna O'Connor 1995)


  • A "Touch" Association Judiciary (Paul T Jonson 1987)

  • A Ready Reference Guide on Judiciary Matters (Stackpool & Woolcock 1996)



More Recent Publications

Dr Kath O’Brien undertook her PhD thesis at the University of Queensland. Her most recent publication titled “The issue of unconscious bias in referee decisions in the National Rugby League’ reflects the many hours spent researching NRL referees. As part of her thesis and forthcoming new research paper (The development of craft in Australian National Rugby League referees), Kath conducted interviews with a range of NRL officials, spending time at their workplace including the referee “bunker”.

Kath’s findings, along with her co-author, Prof. John Mangan, could be applicable to referees and umpires in all sports, including Touch.

Kath, as she is affectionately know in Touch circles, has vast experience in both the Touch community and the academic world as her CV attest. Her Touch credentials include World Cups in 1995 and 1997 as Manager of the Mixed Open and Assistant Coach in 1999 of the Womens 30 division. Test matches in 1993. 1995 and 1998 as Mixed Open Manager. She also has considerable experience with Australian Youth teams at the 2001 Youth World Cup coaching the Mixed 20 team and in 2005 coaching the Girls 20 team.

Her stint in Youth Test Matches included Assistant Coach for the Girls 18 teams in 1999 and 2004 and Coach of the Boys 18 teams in 2009 and 2011. For her beloved Queensland Kath coached the Womens 30 team in 1996, Mixed Open in 2002 and Women Open in 2012. In addition she acted as Assistant Coach to the Womens 30 in 1995 and Womens Open in 1999 as well as Manager for the Mixed Open in 1994.

Dr Kath also coached the Queensland Schoolboys Team (Boys 18 team) in 2007 at the National Championships – the first female to coach a State men’s team; the first female to coach a Qld Mixed Open team; the first person to coach a wining Qld Mixed Open team at the State of Origin series (NSW had won all of them until then); first female to coach a National Youth Men’s team.

Australian Touch Association Newsletters

In December 2000 ATA first published a newsletter to inform the Touch community of events that were happening both within Australia and overseas. The publication came out every couple of months with some of headings in the Newsletters including; Great Moments in Touch, the All-stars of Touch, Great Touch Teams of the Twentieth Century, Letters from Readers, Famous Interviews and The Legends Club. The newsletters existed for two years and were distributed by email. The final article was published in December 2003.

Unpublished Works

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History of Touch

In 2004 the Technical Panel recommended to the General Committee that a book recording the history of Touch should be commissioned and published so that a record was available of the early days of the sport. The concept was for a Coffee Table Book with many pictures of the early pioneers and players. To investigate the idea the Australian Touch Association engaged academic Dr Grant Rodwell from the University of Newcastle to research the prospects of such a publication and provided them with a cost analysis of the project. (See Dr Rodwell's Bio at

Dr Rodwell provided the ATA with a thirteen page "Paper" on the benefits of such a Book any why it should be commissioned. After accepting the recommendation he was paid a remuneration of $30,000 to research and produce the book. Grant spent the rest of 2004 and part of 2005 travelling Australia interviewing those in each State and Territory who were involved in the early day's of the sport in those States. He conducted interviews with prominent coaches, referees and selectors and in July 2005 presented the Australian Touch Association a set of discs with his completed works.

Several people within the Touch community within Australian did not agree with Dr Rodwell findings and the historic accuracy of events, thus the book was not published. Over the ensuring years extracts were published in event programs and critics complained of some inaccuracies. All of the critics were asked to provide ATA with their version of an event and such would be added to the publication thus ensuring it to be a more comprehensive and meticulous document. Grant only wrote what was told to him as he was not a "Touchie" and did not express his own opinion of any event. To date no one has provided any alternate view of any issues.

The Story of Touch

After being contacted by Dr Rodwell and reading his introduction to the beginning of the Sport, Bob Dyke (1934-2010) decided to write his own story of the beginning of Touch. Bob disputed some item in the Article so he created his own booklet "The Story of Touch" and sent it to NSW Touch as a booklet for safe keeping among their archives. A copy (printed on blue paper) was sent to me to read and appraise. The document is generally an exact copy of Grant's work (pages 1-11) with the exception of Page 10 after the heading Touch Football House. I could not find any disputed facts written by Grant only additional information provided by Bob. 

After receiving Bob’s “Story” in the mail, I spoke to him about the whole process. He was disappointed that he was not more involved in the writing of the “History of Touch” given that he and Ray Vawdon (1934-2020)  were the “Mother and Father of Touch”. I also felt he was disheartened that Ray had been recognised with the NSW TA Premier Touch Competition named in his honour – The Vawdon Cup, and that he had not received appropriate acknowledgement for his achievements and contribution to the sport. The Bob Dyke Shield is an NSW Touch Trophy for the winner of the City verses County fixtures which were disbanded in 2005.

History of the National Touch League

Approaching the thirty year celebrations of National Championships, Touch Football Australia asked Cary Thompson to write a publication on the commencement and success of the National Touch League (NTL).  Such a request was made only a few months before the planned NTL on the Sunshine Coast with a function taking place during the event at the Caloundra RSL. The task was virtually impossible but attempts were made to document as much data as possible in the time frame. Close to the event what had been written was sent to TFA to publish extracts in the event program. The project was never completed however what was written is listed in three documents, links to which are below. Somehow Volume 2 was corrupted with section missing and the year 2002 not completed.

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