Leah Opie coaches amateurs to ISS grand final win

In one summer sporting season, Blue Mountains Grammar School PE teacher Leah Opie-Lukins pulled off the ultimate coup. She taught a group of 11 amateurs the fundamentals of touch football and then the following term in an upset, they went on to win the Independent Sporting Association grand final.

But then not every team gets a five-time national touch football player to train them in the basics.

In 2015, Opie-Lukins was part of the Australian touch football world cup winning team. She has also represented the country in four Trans-Tasman cups. But she said in her 17-year career, she had never coached beginners and admitted their success was a surprise.

"We started off okay. We won some, we lost some and then after the [Christmas] break we got absolutely smashed in our first three games so I wasn't confident at all," Opie-Lukins said.

"I went back to basics, but I also taught them things that I do that were a little bit advanced and once they understood those, that's what made them the better team."

The team just scraped into the girls touch football senior B semi finals on March 2 taking on the highly fancied first place getter, Kinross Wolaroi School from Orange. In an upset in 32 degree heat in Penrith they beat them convincingly 9-3 and then 90 minutes later, tired from the semis, they managed to clean up the Chevalier College, Bowral team with a 2-0 finish. 

"The girls were switched on from the hooter ... they played so well in extremely hot conditions. And they came away with the first ever ISA Girls' Touch Football championship. They were absolutely thrilled."

The private school competition is in a trial year. ‚ÄčTeam members included: Brodie Wylde, Holly Camilleri, Sarah Fallon, Annabelle Byrne, Hayli Shiels, Kara Charlton, Mia Walpole, Molly Lewis, Matilda Merry, Annabelle Huston and Maia Deluca.  The Wentworth Falls school's two junior teams also made the finals.

Opie-Lukins, 28, is expecting a baby in September and so withdrew from her own competitions this year.

"I will see what my body does after," she said.