Story & photos Eve Jeffery
Crozier Field in Lismore was the place to be on the weekend if you love rugby league as 13 teams made up of the north coast’s finest players gathered for a weekend of celebration at the close the league season in the annual Aboriginal Knockout.
Starting at 9am Saturday with the first match between Muli Muli and the Byron Bay Arakwal team, the carnival continued throughout the weekend with some great football and some stellar moments. Competing this year were Muli Muli, Arakwal, Tabulum, Lismore Wanderers, Patsy Nagas Memorial, Cubawee, Kempsey United, North Casino, Jordan Bolt Memorial, Clarence Coast Cutters, Cabbage Tree Island, Box Ridge and Coraki United.
First round winners on Saturday morning were Arakwal, Tabulum, Patsy Nagas Memorial, Cubawee, Jordan Bolt Memorial, Clarence Coast, Cabbage Tree Island and Coraki United.
The afternoon kicked-off with a second round which left Tabulum, Cubawee, Clarence Coast and Cabbage Tree Island to play the semi-finals on Sunday morning setting up a final with Tabulum and Cabbage Tree Island under threatening skies on Sunday afternoon.
Event organiser Grantley Creighton says that the Knockout has been growing every years since it started.
‘Its our end of year carnival that we have run since 2006 between Lismore and Byron Bay fields’, said Creighton. ‘The matches are played between Aboriginal men’s teams from across the northern rivers and the mid north coast.’
Creighton says the event is a warm-up to the annual NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout which this year is in Raymond Terrace, Newcastle.
He also said that the 2014 Knockout had something a little bit special.
‘We had women’s exhibition match this year that was a highlight. The teams were the Gulgan All Stars and Yugambeh Boomaleh who played a special exhibition match.
The main event began at about 3pm and started out strongly with Turtle Diver Fred Waters quickly notching up two tries for Tabulum and it was a run home for the Divers who for the second time took the home the win, Tabulum having won the inaugural Knockout in 2006.
The only shadow on what was a great event was when ten minutes into the final half, an ambulance was called to the field to deliver Fred Waters to the hospital with a severely broken leg.
‘Fred Waters is okay now’, said Creighton on Tuesday. ‘He was discharged from hospital today, he has had an operation though to reset that bad break.’
The final score for the Knockout was Tabulam 27 and Cabbage Tree Island 10.
Try scorers were: Fred Waters 2, Ray Mercy, Kevin Torrens, Anthony Robinson with Roy Bell scoring 3 goals and field goal for Tabulum. Brian Kelly scored 2 tries and Trevor Bolt a goal for Cabbage Tree Island.
‘This was the biggest carnival to date’, said Creighton. ‘There are plans to make it bigger next year. This is a very important event on the indigenous calendar across the northern rivers.
~ Photos Eve Jeffery