If attendees were complaining about the sweltering hot weather yesterday, their prayers were answered in the extreme.
Day 2 of the 49th NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout, or the 'Koori Knockout' as it's widely known, started out cold and very wet. The morning was overcast with heavy showers, creating a soggy playing field for the men's teams. Any muddy water mob might have felt right at home, with tries landing as though players were going headfirst down a slip-n-slide of thick mud.
While it was the second day of the Knockout, it was the first for the anticipated men's teams, many of whom have NRL greats including the Yowies' Ash Taylor, Waterloo's Josh Addo-Carr and Greg Inglis for Wall Street Warrior.
As the weather began to clear, attendees were priveldged with an official Welcome to Darkinjung Country which included parachuters flying the Aboriginal flag in toe.
When you're up against a side with not just an NRL star, but an NRL legend like G.I, intimidation can fast set in. But not so for the Moree Boomerangs(1), who captivated the large crowd with astonishing dominance over Wall Street Warriors.
The Moree maddness started only a mere three minutes in, with the winger cleaning up an easy try in the top corner. A complex conversion kick from the side line was the cherry on top, successfully going over the black dot and putting the North-West NSW team in the lead.
Their final points came from a determined tackle, which they were only just able to make it through a tight Wall Street defence. No conversion for their last try, unluckily, but the Boomerangs ended the game with a result significantly in their favour; 34 - 0.
Prop Forward for the Moree Boomerangs, Number 10, Peter Duncan said the team didn't predict such prosperity.
"We always expected it would be hard, y'know. You've got blokes like G.I and a good structured, big side," he told NITV. "We've got a very young side this year, it's very much the next generation coming through."
After 12 years playing in the Knockout, he believes it's the unity of this side that has seen them succeed, not just on the field today, but throughout the year back home in North-West NSW.
"We've gone back-to-back in our local comp," he explains. "It's just a bunch of young brothers sticking together, not being overwhelmed by any big names.
"It's just about community and family all sticking together, and doin' it for each other."
When asked if he'd like to see the Knockout get taken back to the country, the proud Gomeroi, Moree born-and-bred player grinned widely.
"Aw mate, we're hoping," he answered with a shy smile. "You got the best footballers out bush. You got sides like Toomelah, the Narwan Eels. We just need to stick with that core group and keep trying to work hard to get there."
Another match with big names was Newcastle Yowies with Ash Taylor in the mix, up against Combined Countries.
While the South-Western Sydney side doesn't get as much profile as some of your bigger names — Redfern All Blacks, Newcastle All Blacks, Yowies, La Perouse etc. — they're especially strong, known for their focus and rarely make mistakes. It was anticipated game of two heavyweight teams and played out with pressure upon pressure.
Yowies scored a try early on with some determined armwrestles and a good eye for opportunity. But not too long Combined were catching up, with Yowie's losing the ball and executing some messy plays. The crowd saw a constant exchange in power from the two teams, but by the end of the second half, Yowies were obviously hard on the attack.
A joyful moment came from Yowie's very last try, with Taylor kicking across the field to a big winger who was up against a small defender, the smart move landing an easy point. The final score was 18-10.
Such energetic games this Saturday had the crowds affected with elation for the beloved event. The day may have been overcast, but the smiles at Tuggerah Sports Complex were shining bright.
Day 2 results:
Serpents 6 - 22 Wellington Wedgetails
Narwan Eels Gold 4 - 26 Griffith Three Ways United
Redfern All Blacks 6 - 6 Gundungurra Goannas
Leonie Butchy Drew Memorial 20 - 12 Narwan Eels Blue
Dhinawan Birraygal Toomelah Tigers 0 - 42 Newcastle All Blacks
Googars 16 - 4 Doonside Brown Bears
Collarenebri Bulldogs 8 - 18 Tingha Tigers
Castlereigh All Blacks 18 - 12 South Taree1
Waterloo Storm 1 42 - 0 Gumbaynggirr Descendants
Waterloo Storm 2 Next Generation 0 - 30 Wiradjuri Aboriginal Rivers
Campbelltown Ghosts 10 - 28 Walgett Aboriginal Connection
Toomelah Tigers 14 - 6 Cabbage Tree Island
Koori Brothers United 6 - 18 Tin Town Warriors
Wiradjuri Warriors 18 - 8 Kamilaroi Galamaays
La Perouse Panthers 10 - 18 Newcastle Emus
Nanima Common Connection 38 - 10 Lismore Wanderers
Moree Boomerangs1 38 - 0 Wall Street Warriors
Moree Boomerangs2 0 - 48 Tweed Connexions
United Tribes 6 - 22 Dindima
Mungindi Grasshoppers 22 - 34 Kempsey Dunghutti Brothers
Narrandera Wiradjuri Warriors 38 - 12 Nandewar Wedgetails
Dubbo Pacemakers 8 - 0 Central Coast United
Barwon United Swans 28 - 6 South Taree2
Bellbrook Bulldog Trackers 6 - 30 Maitland United
Bellbrook Bulldogs 6 - 12 Bundjalung Daygal Warriors
Foster East Coast Goannas 0 - 30 Bourke Warriors
Newcastle Yowies 18 - 10 Combined Countries
Erambie All Blacks 10 - 34 Mindaribba Warriors
Gomeroi Roos 6 - 50 South Coast Black Cockatoos
Hunter Wayila 26 - 4 Blacktown Western Warriors
South West Metro Waratahs 6 - 6 Goodooga Magpies
Gilgandra Sand Goannas 30 - 0 Cultural Brothers United