Six games, 300 minutes of football and one premiership title made for a very happy Wellington Cowboy.
Aidan Ryan was among a handful of football players from Wellington to compete in the 2017 Koori Knockout over the October long weekend.
Three teams from Wellington entered in two divisions of the knockout, those being the Wellington Wedgetails and the Nanima Common Connection in the women’s division, and the Nanima men’s team, while Ryan donned a Newcastle Yowies jersey.
The Yowies first came up against the Larpa Roos on the Saturday, defeating them 36-nil. Larpa Roos Brothers were next to feel the Yowies’ wrath, 14-nil.
Ryan said the hardest game of the tournament was against Cabbage Tree Island who led the match by 10 before the Yowies came back to win in a nail-biting 18-16 victory.
The Yowies overcame the Bourke Warriors 22-4 to qualify them for the semi-finals against Newcastle All Blacks who have made the grand final three years prior. Despite a slow start Newcastle took a 20-8 win to proceed onto the grand final against Griffith Three Ways at Lichard Oval.
The Yowies came out on top with a comfortable 22-8 to take out the premiership for 2017.
“It’s unreal football,” Ryan said.
“At the start it was physical and they did end up blowing out of puff which we knew was going to happen so we kept grinding away.
Ryan said the only thing that would have made the victory even sweeter is to have won the title with his home team who made the top 16.
The Nanima men’s side was boosted by the presence of Tyrone Peachy and Anthony Mundine. They won their first two games comfortably but were defeated by Griffith Three Ways, 14-6.
“Watching your mates run out and you’re not out there with them really hurt,” he said.
“The only one better feeling would be winning the Knockout with them blokes.
“We’ll be back bigger and better next year, just got to keep working away.”
Meanwhile in the women’s division the Nanima girls were knocked out in the first round against defending premiers, Redfern.
Ryan said the Nanima team ran out of steam, however put in a cracking effort considering three quarters of the side don’t play rugby league.
The Wellington Wedgetails excelled in the competition to qualify for the semi-final against the Dungutti Sisters. The Sisters proved why they were grand finalists in 2016 to knock Wellington out of the competition.
“It was a big effort by the Wedgetails in their first year back in after 10 years,” Ryan said.
His focus is now back on the 2018 season.
“My next goal is to win the Group 11 grand final and that’s what I’m going to put everything into now,” Ryan said. “That’d be something special for me.”