History was made in Dubbo at the weekend with the inaugural National Indigenous Touch Football Knockout held at Apex Oval.
More than 20 men’s and mixed teams competed across five divisions on Saturday and Sunday, with organisers Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (WACHS) and NSW Touch hailing it a great success.
“We’ve certainly had a couple of thousand people through the gates,” WACHS marketing and communications manager Jodie Evans said.
“I think what we’ve proven is you can have all ages and all shapes and sizes actually playing and no one actually has any issues with that, and having mixed teams is great too, it just brings different elements into it.
“Next year we hope to build on the women’s sides and certainly bring the kids in, which will also have a different feel again.”
The competition was tight, with three of the five finals won by a single point.
In the men’s A grade final, the Castlereagh All-Blacks went try-for-try against the Top Camp Swans.
Only a try in the final moments of the game could separate the two, with the All-Blacks coming out on top.
Tony Pellow was named player of the match.
NSW Touch game development officer Stacey Parker said she was impressed by the “outstanding” quality of play on show, with players coming from as far away as Western Australia.
“We look forward to what’s going to happen in 2018,” she said. “Hopefully we can double the numbers.”
Touch football wasn’t the only focus of the weekend, with the crew from QuitBFit on hand at the smoke and alcohol-free event to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Current and former NRL stars were on hand to help spread the message, including Scott Prince (who played with the All-Blacks), Timana Tahu, Nathan Merritt, Cody Walker and Will Smith.
“We’re trying to get that communication through from a young age that smoking isn’t great for you and drinking so much soft drink,” Evans said.
“It’s all about healthy eating and living, and sport is obviously vital to that.”
“Being at the inaugural National Indigenous Touch Football Knockout was something special and something I won’t forget,” Prince said. “It was great to see the family coming together to promote healthy choices.”
- Men’s A grade: Castlereagh All-Blacks 6 def Top Camp Swans 5
- Men’s B grade: Smooth Finish 5 def Kamilaroi Dreamerz 4
- Men’s C grade: Euraba 5 def Young Guns 3
- Mixed A grade: Koori Kama 7 def Amaroo Allstars 6
- Mixed B grade: Lively Connections 3 def Thuroona 1