NSW Koori Knockout

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

NSW Koori Knockout
SportRugby league
Inaugural season1971
Winners & HostSouth Coast Black Cockatoos (2019)
Most titles
Broadcast partner
Related competition

NSW Koori Rugby League Knockout Carnival is one of the biggest Indigenous gatherings in Australia. The very first knockout was held at Camdenville Oval, St Peters, on the October long weekend of 1971 with eight participating teams. The winning teams gains the right to hold the next knockout. Organisers created the knockout as an alternative more accessible to Indigenous players than the state rugby league.


The Knockout emerged from the new and growing mostly inner-city Sydney Aboriginal community in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The emerging political movement in Redfern for self-determination and justice, increased opportunities arising from post-referendum federal government initiatives and greater employment prospects in the industrial areas of Sydney influenced Aboriginal families' migration to the inner-city, particularly South Sydney. The Knockout emerged within this complex economic and social context. It was initiated by six men affiliated with Koorie United: Bob Smith, Bob Morgan, Bill Kennedy, Danny Rose, Victor Wright and the late George Jackson. They formed Koorie United in response to the rapidly expanding Sydney Aboriginal community. The established Sydney-based Aboriginal sides, the Redfern All Blacks and La Perouse Panthers (or Blacks as they were sometimes called), were aligned with the South Sydney football district. There were many Aboriginal men looking for a game of football and so Koorie United formed joining the rival Newtown Jets district, with sponsorship from Marrickville Council, where some of the committee members worked.

The Koorie United committee were connected through kinship and the shared experience of relocating to the city. Bob Morgan, Danny Rose and Bill Kennedy hail from the New South Wales north-western town of Walgett in Gamilaroi country. Bob Smith and Victor Wright had relocated from Kemspey on the New South Wales north coast, and while the late George Jackson was based in Sydney, he also had connections with Gamilaroi as his wife was from Coonabarabran.

Following a meeting at the Clifton Hotel, a well-known gathering place for Kooris in Redfern in the 1960s & 70s, the Koorie United committee proposed holding a statewide Knockout competition. Prior to this there had been many town-based knockout football and basketball competitions. However, the establishment of the Knockout set out with some different objectives. Bob Morgan says:

Our concept at the time was to also have a game where people who had difficulty breaking into the big time would be on show. They could put their skills on show and the talent scouts would come and check them out.

The Knockout was formed with a view to providing a stage for the many talented Aboriginal footballers playing at the time who had been overlooked by the talent scouts. Although there were some notable exceptions, like Bruce (La Pa) Stewart playing on the wing for Easts and field goal specialist, Eric Simms, with South Sydney, Aboriginal footballers experienced difficulty breaking into the big time. It was thought the Knockout would provide a chance for Aboriginal footballers to get noticed, where for reasons of racism and lack of country-based recruitment they were overlooked. There was also some talk of entering an all-Aboriginal side in the National Rugby League competition. But the instigation of the Knockout was intended to be far more than sporting competition, as original committee member Bob Morgan said:

The Knockout was never simply about football, it was about family, it was about community, it was getting people to come together and enjoy and celebrate things rather than win the competition football.

The first Knockout[edit]

In 1971 Koorie United hosted the first knockout at Camdenville Park, St Peters, attracted seven teams: Koorie United, Redfern All Blacks, Kempsey, La Perouse, Walgett, Moree and a combined Mt Druitt / South Coast side. It was won by La Perouse United.[1]

With Kempsey winning the Knockout in 1975, the first non-Sydney side, it was decided that the winning team would host the Knockout the following year, and so the tradition began.

The Kempsey Knockout was memorial to the late Victor Wright Senior, a long time supporter of the Knockout and of Aboriginal Football. The original winning trophy was donated by the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs.

The inscription on the trophy reads, NSW Koorie Sports Committee Annual Football Knockout Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Foundation of Aboriginal Affairs.

BAC Walgett became the first team to win the Knockout on 3 subsequent occasions. Their first win in 1988 (at Newcastle) resulted in some controversy regarding the tradition of the winner hosting the carnival questioning the capacity of a small remote country township (population around 2200) to stage such a major event. With upwards of 6000 footballers, 50-odd teams and officials, supporters and family coming to town in 1989 for the three-day carnival the Walgett community carried the day and went on to win it again at Walgett in 1990. The BAC management team chose to stage the carnival in Sydney in 1991 for its 21st anniversary.

Knockout winners[edit]

Year Men's Knockout Winners
1971 La Perouse United
1972 Redfern All Blacks
1973 Redfern All Blacks
1974 Koorie United
1975 Kempsey All Blacks
1976 Louis St Dodgers
1977 West Kempsey
1978 Redfern All Blacks
1979 Redfern All Blacks
1980 Narwan Eels
1981 Zetland
1982 Zetland Magpies
1983 Dubbo Pacemakers
1984 Koorie United
1985 Moree Boomerangs
1986 Narwan Eels
1987 Newcastle All Blacks
1988 BAC Walgett
1989 BAC Walgett
1990 BAC Walgett
1991 La Perouse All Blacks
1992 Redfern All Blacks
1993 Redfern All Blacks
1994 Toomelah Tigers
1995 Bourke Weilmoringle
1996 Nambucca Valley Rams
1997 Nambucca Valley Rams
1998 Wellington Wedge tails
1999 Nambucca Valley Rams
2000 Narwan Eels / Louis St Dodgers
2001 Narwan Eels / La Perouse Panthers
2002 Moree Boomerangs / La Perouse Panthers
2003 Cec Patten-Ron Merritt Memorial
2004 Cec Patten-Ron Merritt Memorial
2005 Cec Patten-Ron Merritt Memorial
2006 Cec Patten-Ron Merritt Memorial
2007 Wollumbin Warriors/Newcastle All Blacks
2008 Narwan Eels
2009 BAC Walgett
2010 Walgett Aboriginal Connection
2011 Mindaribba Warriors
2012 Newcastle Yowies
2013 Newcastle Yowies
2014 Walgett Aboriginal Connection
2015 Redfern All Blacks
2016 Redfern All Blacks
2017 Newcastle Yowies
2018 Newcastle All Blacks
2019 South Coast Black Cockatoos
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in Australia[2]
Year Woman Knockout Winners
2007 Casino woman's
2008 Casino woman's
2012 Mindaribba sisters
2013 Newcastle Yowies
2014 Redfern All Blacks
2015 Redfern All Blacks
2016 Redfern All Blacks
2017 Redfern All Blacks
2018 Newcastle Yowies
2019 Wellington Wedgetails
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in Australia[2]
Year Under 16s Girls Knockout Winners
2019 La Perouse
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in Australia[2]
Year Under 17s Boys Knockout Winners
2013 La Perouse
2014 Newcastle All Stars
2015 Toomelah Tigers
2016 La Perouse
2017 Illawarra Titans
2018 Western Koori Eels
2019 Kempsey Sharks
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in Australia[2]

Koori vs. Murri Interstate Challenge[edit]

The QLD Murri vs. NSW Koori Interstate Challenge is an annual rugby league game played between the winners of the NSW Koori Knockout and Murri Rugby League Carnival.

Year Koori vs. Murri Interstate Challenge
Winners Score Runners-up
2012 Mindaribba Warriors 40–18 Southern Dingoes
2013 Argun Warriors 28–24 Newcastle Yowies
2014 Newcastle Yowies] 18–12 Southern Dingoes
2015 Badu Kulpiyam 30–22 Walgett Aboriginal Connection
2016 The Southern Dingoes 26–12 Redfern All Blacks
2017 Redfern All Blacks 34–12 Cherbourg Hornets
2018 Newcastle Yowies 38–26 Dhadhin Geai Warriors

2019 - Newcastle All Blacks

2014 Festival of Indigenous Rugby League[edit]

The NRL launched a Festival of Indigenous Rugby League program to take the place of the prestigious pre-season Rugby League All Stars game following every World Cup year. The 2014 Festival of Indigenous Rugby League featured a trial match between the Newcastle Knights and an Indigenous team, drawn from the NSW Koori Rugby League Knockout and Murri Rugby League Carnival in Queensland, as well as the NRL Indigenous Player Cultural Camp, Murri vs Koori women's and Under 16s representative games, a Murri v Koori match, a jobs expo and community visits.[3]

First Nation Goannas
2014 squad Coaching staff
  •  1 Javarn White FB
  •  2 Kieran Vale WG
  •  3 Rickki Sutherland CE
  •  4 Joshua Benjamin CE
  •  5 Malcolm Congoo WG
  •  6 Kareel Phillips FE
  •  7 Adrian Davis (c)HB
  •  8 Reggie Saunders PR
  •  9 Roy Smith HK
  • 10 Matthew Pittman PR
  • 11 Noel Underwood SR
  • 12 Davin Crampton SR
  • 13 Phil Dennis LK

Head coach

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

8 February 2014, 7pm (AEDT)
Newcastle Knights 52–12 First Nation Goannas
Jake Mamo 3
Joseph Tapine 2
Alex McKinnon 1
Korbin Sims 1
Sione Mata'utia 1
Josh Mantellato 1
Matt Minto 1
Josh Mantellato 6/10
1 Davin Crampton
1 Rod Jensen
2/2 Adrian Davis
Hunter Stadium
Attendance: 6,826
Referee: Gavin Badger, Chris James, Jeff Younis, Dave Ryan

2018 Festival of Indigenous Rugby League[edit]

2018 Festival of Indigenous Rugby League created a strong connection between the Maori, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The First Nations Goannas are chosen from the Koori Knockout and the Murri Carnival. With a strong showcase of cultural celebration from both teams. The 2018 Festival of Indigenous Rugby League was held at Redfern Oval featuring a Double header between the First Nation Goannas v NZ Maori and First Nation Gems v NZ Maori Ferns, And a curtain raiser game for the Koori vs Murri Interstate challenge Between Newcastle Yowies and Dhadin Geai Warriors .[4]

First Nation Goannas
2018 squad Coaching staff
  •  1 Ryan Walker FB
  •  2 Ipswich Colours.svg Michael Purcell WG
  •  3 Kieran Vale CE
  •  4 Josh Charles CE
  •  5 Greg Davis WG
  •  6 Maipele Morseu FE
  •  7 Adrian Davis HB
  •  8 Dan Tanner PR
  •  9 Wes Middleton (c)HK
  • 10 Zac Merritt PR
  • 11 Northern Pride colours.png Noel Underwood SR
  • 12 Justin Toomey-White SR
  • 13 Trent Rose LK
  • 14 Randall Briggs FE
  • 15 Bennett Leslie LK, SR
  • 16 Will Merritt PR
  • 17 Isaac Briggs PR
  • 18 Tristan Lumley SR, LK
  • 19 Ipswich Colours.svg Wes Conlon FB, HK
  • 20 Shane Nolan-Carr HB, HK

Head coach

Assistant coach

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 10 February 2018
Source(s): Festival of Indigenous Rugby League Squads

10 February 2018
First Nation Goannas 22–16 New Zealand Maori
Ryan Walker 1
Michael Purcell 1
Dan Tanner 1
Kieran Vale 1
Adrian Davis 3/4
1 Ozzy Tuwhangai
1 Carne Doyle-Manga
1 Jayden Horo
Manaia Rudolph 2/3
First Nation Gems
2018 squad Coaching staff
  •  1 Kazzia Lemmon FB
  •  2 Tanika Marshall WG
  •  3 Amber Piley CE
  •  4 Taleenna Simon CE
  •  5 Paris Robinson WG
  •  6 Sarah Field FE
  •  7 Sharon McGrady HB
  •  8 Rhianna Sutherland PR
  •  9 Kiara Maza HK
  • 10 Layla Fauid PR
  • 11 Samartha Leisha (c)SR
  • 12 Stephanie Mooka SR
  • 13 Carly Phillips LK
  • 14 Ashleigh Sowter
  • 15 Shakia Tungai
  • 16 Rikki Lane
  • 17 Kyara Nean
  • 18 Candice Clay
  • 19 Chloe Caldwell

Head coach

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 10 February 2018
Source(s): Festival of Indigenous Rugby League Squads

10 February 2018
First Nation Gems 18–0 New Zealand Maori Ferns
Samartha Leisha 1
Taleena Simon 2
Sarah field 3/3

Leader board[edit]

Teams Wins
Redfern All Blacks 8
Narwan Eels 5
Cec Patten-Ron Merritt Memorial 4
BAC Walgett 4
Nambucca Valley Rams 3
Newcastle Yowies 3
Zetland 2
Koorie United 2
Louis St Dodgers 2
Moree Boomerangs 2
Newcastle All Blacks 2
La Perouse Panthers 2
Walgett Aboriginal Connection 2
Dubbo Pacemakers 1
Toomelah Tigers 1
Wellington Wedge tails 1
Bourke Weilmoringle 1
Kempsey All Blacks 1
West Kempsey 1
Mindaribba Warriors 1
Wollumbin Warriors 1
La Perouse United 1
La Perouse All Blacks 1
South Coast Black Cockatoos 1


Throughout the 46-year history of the Knockout there have been many trophies added. Many of the trophies are memorials. Some of these trophies are dedicated to those who have made a significant contribution to the Knockout and Aboriginal football. These include the William Peachey Memorial Trophy – donated by the Peache family; the Lance Brown Memorial Trophy presented to Bourke/Weilmoringle RLFC, Gary "Mad Mick" Kennedy; McGrady Memorial Shield; Tommo Tighe Memorial Shield; Tabulam Rugby League Football Club Paul Roberts Memorial Shield; Wesley McGrady Memorial Trophy; Vincent Clyde Donovan Memorial Trophy – donated by the South Taree Footballers for the best 5/8 of State Knockout; and the George "Pedro" Squires Perpetual Trophy – donated by the Greenup Family Bowraville.[5]

NRL players to play in Koori Knockout[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aboriginal Rugby League". Dictionary of Sydney. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d "2020 Koori Knockout Tournament Officially Postponed Until Next Year". 7 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Festival of Indigenous Rugby League launched". NRL.com. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Festival of Indigenous Rugby League launched". Queensland Rugby League. 6 February 2018.
  5. ^ "About us". foxsportspulse. Retrieved 17 November 2015.