Thousands will converge on Dubbo on Saturday for the annual Waratahs Rugby League Knockout.
Now in its fifth year, the Knockout will bring players and families from as far away as Wilcannia and Brewarrina to Caltex Park.
This year the event will be smoke-free for the first time, and Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (WACHS) chief executive officer Darren Ah See said the day will be used to promote indigenous health.
“Around 3000 supporters and 400 players head to Dubbo to participate in the Knockout and it is a great opportunity for our QUIT B FIT Tackling Indigenous Smoking team to educate our people on how to cut back the smokes and live a healthier and more active life,” Mr Ah See said.
The prevalence of smoking in indigenous communities is so high, QUIT B FIT’s Samantha Ah See says.
“There’s a need to reduce smoking rates among aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reduce chronic disease,” she said.
“[The Knockout] brings the aboriginal community together all in one place and it’s a good place for us to really push the message.”
This year 16 teams will battle it out to claim the William Hill Memorial trophy, named in honour of Dubbo Waratahs coach William Hill senior and his son and Waratahs player William Hill junior.
An under-13s knockout is also scheduled, with five teams registered so far to contest the Uncle John Hill Cup.
“For some it’s a warm-up session before they head to the NSW Knockout the following weekend...and for others it’s a chance for all of the family to get back together and play alongside one another,” Waratahs committee member Grace Toomey said.
This year WACHS is also supporting DonateLife and will have a stall at the Knockout for people to have a yarn about organ and tissue donation.
This is part of the legacy of James Ackerman, a Sunshine Coast prop who died in 2015 after being felled in a tackle.
His family honoured his wish to become an organ and tissue donor.
It continues a series of activities by WACHS.
Go to www.donatelife.gov.au for more information.