• Red Belly Blacks at the Koori Knockout 2016 (Brendan Esposito)Source: Brendan Esposito
Multi-sports star and Over the Black Dot reporter Tanisha Stanton says the Koori Knockout is a driving factor behind the continued growth of women’s rugby league, and this year’s tournament will be the best we’ve seen.
By
Tanisha Stanton

28 Sep 2017 - 5:30 PM  UPDATED 28 Sep 2017 - 5:30 PM

For me personally, the Koori Knockout’s particularly special because it’s getting to celebrate our culture.

Unfortunately, there’s not many days throughout the year where we do celebrate our culture and I definitely think we should do it a lot more.

This is a day for all blackfullas who have a common interest in rugby league. That’s what we all grew up playing - It’s a sport that we’ve all grown up playing with our families in the backyard - and to be able to bring it together one a mass scale and play alongside your brothers and sisters, it’s something really special. 

I remember when I played my first Knockout in Newcastle and it’s [playing in Knockouts] such a different feeling to playing any other comps, or any other sort of levels of any code. It’s just a different feeling running out, because you know you're not only representing yourself, but you’re representing your family and your mob as well.

 

It’s really cool and I think that’s what brings us all together is family and your mob and just all Indigenous people coming together as one. It doesn’t matter what mob you’re from, what community, whatever. We all come together at the end of the day and we’re celebrating being Indigenous.

I’m also really excited for the women on the field. I think the competition’s going to be better than ever because girls are playing on a regular basis. They’re playing in club comps and their local comps and I also know that a few of the girls that I played with over previous years, are starting to branch out and play for different teams - they’re not all sticking together again. I think that’ll make the competition a lot stronger so teams aren’t stacked. 

It’s really important for the competition to grow and for more teams to participate. It’s really important cos there’s so much talent out there and it’s just not being utilised cos unfortunately communities aren’t able to get teams together.

It's especially great to see the young girls coming through as well, because there’s so many in communities that don’t have the opportunity to jump into team wherever. It's also great to see the older women in communities are backing them and playing as well, I think that they’re leading a really good path for our young female players. 

At this year’s Koori Knockout, Redfern All Blacks will again be one of the teams to beat.

The Redfern All Blacks girls on the weekend just won their local comp and that’s a really good competition. Every year they come back with a strong team, but in saying that, there are a few girls that are in that team locally who are playing in different sides in the Knockout this year. I know there is a couple of girls playing for Dunghutti.

A few of the girls have also gone over to Lapa, who I think are going to be strong. Yowies always have a strong girls team too.

And that’s something which is helping drive growth in the game generally.

I think Knockout’s played a massive part in women’s rugby league. It's own it’s had a massive contribution into the growth of women’s rugby league. And I definitely think that women’s rugby league is heading in the right direction.

Obviously we all know it’s got a fair way to go to reach the heights of men in league, but I think we’re definitely heading in the right direction.

 

Tanisha Stanton will this year be a part of NITV’s live coverage of the Koori Knockout, ahead of a likely return to the playing field in 2018.

All the action from the Koori Knockout 2017 will be broadcast: Online NITV Facebook 29th Sept - 2nd October (Friday to Monday) and On-air on Channel 34 1st- 2nd October (Sunday & Monday). 

Catch up with all the action via SBS On Demand after the broadcast.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using #KooriKnockout