The 2018 NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout has attracted thousands of players from across the state, yet it’s a much more local match-up that has everyone talking.
Saturday will see family taking on family and mates taking on mates as the Dubbo Pacemakers face the Wellington Wedgetails, and the organisers have allocated it the biggest stage – in front of the grandstand at Apex Oval.
Pacemakers captain Travis Hill is hoping the home carnival will give them an edge.”it
“We’re all local boys … we’ve been together for the last couple of years, we’re a young team. Last time it was in Dubbo we made it to the top 10 and we’re hoping to go a bit better this year,” Hill said.
“It will be a good game, a game that you don’t want to miss.
“They’re just the next town across so it will be a good rivalry, some nice contacts and some good shots so don’t miss it!”
ALSO MAKING NEWS
Hill will be joined by brothers Warren and Brayden Peachey, and Corey Redman and Kurt Fuller for the Pacemakers.
He flagged the Peachey brothers as the ones to watch from the local side.
“Braden’s in the halves and Warren will be at the back. They’re always a good combination together,” Hill said.
“There’s a heap of us that all play Group 11 together, so it’s pretty much all local talent and we’re all ready to have a good go at this one and hopefully we can go one further.”
Wellington Cowboys coach Aidan Ryan will lead the Wedgetails, with Brent and Brock Naden also expected to line up opposite the Pacemakers on Saturday.
There’ll also be a number of family connections, with about half of both teams formerly linked with Wellington side Nanima Common Connections.
“We’re all in different clubs so it’s the one time of the year we get to play actually together,” Hill said.
“We all look forward to it.
NCC will start their campaign against the Nandewar Wedgetails at 10.40am on Saturday, while the other Dubbo side – Googars – will take on the Doonside Brown Bears at 12.20pm.
Central West Mob and both Narrandra Wiradjuri sides were also drawn in Pool B, setting up a whole host of potential Central West match-ups as the rounds progress.
“It will be good because most of the time we’re on opposite ends of the pool,” Hill said.
Meanwhile Butterfly Dreaming United – a family team from Bourke, Narromine and Dubbo – Collarenebri Bulldogs and Walgett Aboriginal Connection join NCC in Pool C.
South Sydney Rabbitohs captain and Indigenous All Star Greg Inglis will line up with Nambucca Heads side Wall Street Warriors.
“Hey guys, just heading out to Dubbo,” Inglis told his Instagram followers on Thursday.
“All it is is about giving the kids a chance and giving back to community so I’ll see you guys out there. Peace.”
Hill said playing at the Koori Knockout meant “everything”.
“We all go out and put our bodies on the line, we’re a big family team and we like to give it everything we have,” Hill said.
“Culture is a big part of it and we’re at home this time so we’ve definitely got a lot to prove.
“Everyone will be watching us and we want to show everyone that we’ve got what it takes.”