The winners of last year’s Koori Knockout, the Redfern All Blacks, are going into this year’s NRL competition as favourites as the countdown begins to one of the biggest gatherings of Indigenous peoples in the world.
NITV head of sport Mark Ella said rugby fans are waiting to see if the Redfern All Blacks men’s team can take home the trophy for the third year in a row, and if the club’s women’s team can notch up its second consecutive win.
The men’s team have been Koori Knockout champions since 2015 and the Redfern All Blacks women’s team also won their grand final last year.
“You’ve got to think the Redfern All Blacks, the hosts, may make it three in a row this year,” Ella said. “They’ve got a strong side and they’re playing in Sydney.
“I’m pretty sure they’re keen to keep the knockout in Sydney, so I’m sure they are going to start as favourites.”
Ella said the Yowies from Newcastle could be contenders for the men’s title, as were teams from Walgett.
“There are teams from all over New South Wales and on the day any one of them could win it,” he said.
More than 50 men’s teams and 24 women’s teams will contest this year’s cup, with fiercely contested matches held over four days to October 2 at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.
For those who can’t get to the grounds, NITV will broadcast semi-final and grand final clashes live on Sunday October 1 and Monday October 2, from 9am Sydney time.
Ella said the women’s matches were always big draw cards.
“The women have a huge following,” he said. “Women’s sport in Australia is going through a resurgence so the women’s competition is as important as the men’s. Again the Redfern All Blacks women’s side, they’ll go close to it.”
NITV commentators on the days will include Brad Cooke, Djuro Sen, Daniel Conifer, Owen Craigie, Ronald Griffiths and Jodan Perry.
NITV’s NRL Footy Show, Over the Black Dot, will air the Koori Knockout draw next Wednesday (September 27) at 9pm.