The NSW Koori Knockout is an event for people of all ages and as a testament to that Frogs Hollow Yindyamarra Sporting Association Griffith will be focusing on youth at this year’s event.
The carnival is one of the biggest Indigenous gatherings in Australia and was created as an alternative pathway for Indigenous players instead of the state rugby league knockouts.
The knockout has seen some big name NRL players in the past such as Preston Campbell, Ben Barba as well as Griffith locals Andrew and David Fifita.
After fielding a senior team for the past few years, Frogs Hollow is taking an under 17s side to the 2016 Koori Knockout – which is hosted by the Redfern All Blacks who won last year’s event – in Leichhardt.
The plan is for the team is a long term one.
Whilst Frogs Hollow wouldn’t say no to a string of wins in their first knockout together, members of the organisation said this year was all about learning for the enthusiastic youngsters.
From learning each others’ style of play to performing on the big stage that is the Koori Knockout.
“They can’t wait,” Frogs Hollow Yindyamarra coach Eric Ingram said.
“I’m just looking at it being a good experience for them at the moment.
“The majority of them are 16 and playing in the 17s knockout.
“Hopefully they'll gel and we'll look to fine tune them.”
Members of Frogs Hollow hope the team will stick together and eventually push through to the senior competition in years to come.
The focus for now is on the 2016 tournament.
The players have minimal training under their belts but the talented youngsters have a bit of experience to help them along.
Despite the side boasting a large contingent of young players, a number of players have had game time at the knockout before.
“A few of them actually played in the senior competition,” Ingram said.
“Some of them were 15 playing up in with the seniors.”
The side is based in Griffith but the players come from all across the local region.
“They’re all Group 20 players. There’s probably four from Narrandera, four from Lake Cargelligo, there’s about six from Griffith and a couple from Leeton,” Ingram said.
A lot of hard work from the Frogs Hollow Yindyamarra committee goes into organising the team.
One of the toughest obstacles is funding.
Anyone looking to help out can contact the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fundraising barbecues were also held in Griffith on Sunday and Monday.