The 2021 Koori Knock Out has been cancelled, with health concerns prompted by the enduring COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney to blame.
The South Coast Black Cockatoos, who were to host the annual event, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in a post to their Facebook page.
"The recent extension of the lockdown till 28 August in Greater Sydney (Central Coast, Sydney, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour), and the sustained high number of new COVID cases both combine to make it impossible to host an event that will guarantee the safety and wellbeing of teams, attendees, and the wider community," the post read.
"Regrettably, based on the current health advice, SCBC has made the difficult, yet necessary decision to postpone 50th Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout until October 2022."
As recently as April, the host organisers said they were "working closely" with NSW Health to ensure the event complied with COVID restrictions.
"The safety of Aboriginal communities across NSW is important to us and we are fully committed to providing a safe and enjoyable event," said a representative.
But the enduring coronavirus outbreak in Sydney has forced the organisation's hand, and the south coast team said the highly-anticipated event would have to wait.
"SCBC will continue to engage with NSW Health and look forward to hosting the Knockout in 2022 when NSW and Greater Sydney is expected to be able to live freely and in a COVIDSafe environment," read the statement.
As winners of the last Knockout, held in 2019, the Cockatoos would have played host at the Bomaderry Sports Complex over the October long weekend.
The event would also have marked the 50th anniversary of the beloved competition.
The Knockout's cancellation is the latest in a series of cultural events that have been scrapped due to the pandemic, including the 2021 NAIDOC Awards.