The Koori Knockout undoubtedly sets the tone for rugby league in Australia and this year will be no different. I mean, Greg Inglis is taking the field— what more do you need?
As always there are many incredible players ready to tear it up and I’ll be especially looking forward to seeing the women’s comp and how, if at all, the new NRL Women’s League has an impact.
The Knockout's a big spectacle and known for being a breeding ground for the superstars. Women's rugby league is now on an international level because of the Knockout's influence 10 years ago.
There are so many players worth keeping an eye on, and ahead of Friday I’ve picked just five of them who I expect to see shine on Dubbo’s big stage.
Nakia Davis-Welsh - Redfern All Blacks
There are heaps of women's players to keep an eye on, Nakia Davis-Welsh from Kempsey, who played with the Redfern All Blacks is a stand out for me.
She’s got incredible speed and she is also a great fullback. She runs rings around her competition. She's a class footballer and her father was the great Paul Davis from Balmain many years ago.
Davis-Welsh played a starring role for the Jillaroos in last year’s World Cup, as well as for NSW in this year’s Women’s State of Origin. Injuries have affected her NRL Women’s campaign, but if she's still a strong player in her prime.
Braydon Trindall - Newcastle Emus
Trindall is part of the Cronulla Sharks and he received Man of the Match for their under-20s grand final win just the other day. They won the famous comp beating Penrith, so he's in great form.
Trindle's a young Aboriginal halfback, about to sign another contract with the Sharks but he’s already been told he's going to be in the NRL main squad next year. A halfback and an Indigenous kid— they're rare as hen's teeth and he's been playing at the Koori Knockout the last couple of years.
Ash Taylor - Newcastle Yowies
There will be a heap of NRL stars taking the field at the Knockout, but I’m quite excited to see how Ash Taylor performs.
He’s set to play with Newcastle Yowies after a great NRL season and he was unlucky not to play State of Origin this year. He's just all class. His kicking game and passing game have gone to another level and that's why the Newcastle Yowies will be one of the favourites.
It's great to see him coming back to the Knockout— and that's what makes the Koori Knockout so unique. It doesn’t matter where you play or what you do, you come and play for your people, your mob or your family and friends.
Ray Baira - Newcastle Emus
Ray is a Torres Strait man and a gun centre.
The 24-year-old has great footwork, great skill and magic hands. He's a classy player and classy centre. He's based in Brisbane and plays in the Queensland Cup, and he’s a real game changer, who I can’t wait to watch this weekend. He’s a special player, very special.
Adrian Davis - Kempsey Dunghutti Bloodlines
Success follows Davis everywhere, with every team he's played in he's won a Knockout. He's got that written all over him and Kempsey are up there as red hot favourites with the Yowies, so the team as a whole will certainly be one to watch and of the star-studded Kempsey team, he'll be a player worth following.
These are just five players out of thousands, who are worth watching in Dubbo this weekend.
If you reckon there’s someone everyone should be excited about, let us know on NITV’s Facebook and other social media, and enjoy all of the action from Dubbo across NITV this weekend.
The 2018 Koori Knockout airs 9am Sunday and 9am Monday on NITV (Ch. 34). NITV will also broadcast live matches on Facebook from Friday to Monday.