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NSW Government backs Aboriginal Rugby League

St George Dragons player Tyrell Fuimaono
St George Dragons player Tyrell Fuimaono

The NSW Government has thrown its support behind the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival with a $150,000 Gold Sponsorship.

Minister for Lands and Water and Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said the event brings Aboriginal people together and is an opportunity to find out more about initiatives that support the community.

“The NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout is a great showcase of sporting talent but is also about friendship and family, bringing Aboriginal communities together in a fun and relaxed atmosphere,” Mr Anderson said.

“As well as football and family it will be a chance to engage in initiatives that support Aboriginal people, from career, health and housing programs.

“The Koori Knockout has brought together some of the best and most exciting NRL players in the past including the likes of Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr, Andrew Fifita, Greg Inglis, Cody Walker and many other stars of the game. More importantly, it’s a chance for local players to get amongst it and show they can match it with the big guns.”

Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said the Koori Knockout is one of the largest Indigenous events in Australia.

“The competition is one of the leading Aboriginal sporting events and will bring real excitement to the community, while providing a welcome boost to many local businesses through tourism-related spending,” Mr Henskens said.

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock said the Koori Knockout is a great initiative and the community is looking forward to embracing NSW Aboriginal football players.

“It’s fantastic the South Coast Black Cockatoos, as reigning champions, get to defend their title on home turf while hosting the 50th anniversary of this iconic competition that attracts one of Australia’s biggest gatherings of Aboriginal people,” Mrs Hancock said.

Koori Knockout reigning premiers the Black Cockatoos
Koori Knockout reigning premiers the Black Cockatoos will host this year's event

“30,000 players and spectators from across NSW are expected for the competition, which will be held at Rugby Park Sports Fields and the Bomaderry Sporting Complex over the long weekend from Friday 30 September to Monday 3 October.”

South Coast Black Cockatoos CEO Melissa Wellington said the team was the South Coast’s first winners of the Koori Knockout.

“It will bring many first-time visitors to the South Coast which is great for the whole community,” Ms Wellington said.

Canterbury Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr will be one of many Aboriginal NRL players lining up to play in this year’s Koori Knockout at the end of their season.

“My first knockout experience meant a lot to me. My father and the family put a team together to commemorate and celebrate the life of my cousin. I was only 15 years old at the time, playing against men for the first time,” Mr Addo-Carr said.

“The Koori Knockout hasn't been played for the last few years due to COVID and it's the 50-year anniversary so it will be a very special year. It's a very special week for everyone involved; an annual event where families from NSW and Queensland come together.”

St George Illawarra Dragons NRL player Tyrell Fuimaono said he is a big fan of the Koori Knockout and will also be playing in this year’s tournament.

“It is probably the biggest gathering of Indigenous people of any event throughout the year sporting or otherwise, and plays a big role by bringing everyone together from all over the State to represent teams and families for some great rugby league and also Aboriginal community connection,” Mr Fuimaono said.