It’s that time of year again, where mob from across NSW come together, put on a jersey and battle it out on the footy field for the NSW Koori Knockout crown.

This will be the 49th anniversary of the Knockout and the responsibility of hosting falls on the 2018 reigning champions – the Newcastle All Blacks. The team defeated the La Perouse Panthers 19-18 in Dubbo last year, their first victory in three decades.

Newcastle All Blacks President, Edward Smith said the organisation for this year has been an immense effort.

“It’s a big job, it’s been a 12-month organisation process since we won,” Mr Smith said.

Both Mr Smith and the team Secretary Carol Widders are supporters of the Knockout’s ability to bring people together.

“It brings all our people together every year. It’s a chance for people to meet up with their families and their communities across NSW. It’s one of the biggest sporting events in Australia for our people,” Mr Smith said.

“Newcastle All Blacks are here for the community. We are here for the future of the Knockout. This is a community based and run program – it isn’t corporate or commercial, it’s community led,” Ms Widders said.

“It’s the only thing that we as grassroots Aboriginal people own and control – it’s ours.”

The carnival will take place at the Central Coast Regional Sporting and Recreation Complex in Tuggerah, NSW.

Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council’s (DLALC) deputy chairman Barry (BJ) Duncan says that the Knockout has the Council’s support.

“[DLALC’s] board and members are excited that this event will happen on the Central Coast and will benefit greatly to the economy in the region,” Mr Duncan said.

This year 148 teams will participate in the competition, with the new addition of an Under-16 girls side.

There will also be some extra additions to the Knockout event, with an official Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony taking place between 12pm and 1pm on Saturday October 5.

“We would like to welcome any children under 18 to come and do the corroboree with our dance group and the Newcastle All Blacks,” Ms Widders said.

Ms Widders also invited those coming along to sign up to volunteer for the event and give a helping hand.

“We also ask that people come along to the Gala Night, team delegates must come along.”

For those wanting to register their interest as a volunteer or to join the dance group, please email the Newcastle All Blacks at: newcastleallblacks@hotmail.com.

For more information, visit the Newcastle All Blacks Koori Knockout webpage: newcastleallblacks.com/2019-koori-knockout.