For a proud Indigenous man like Jake Kelly, competing alongside his brothers at the annual Koori Knockout is just about the highest honour he can achieve.
And, it's not because of the NRL stars that come to the event, or because of the matches his Gundungurra Goannas might win, it's because for one time on the rugby league calendar, thousands of Indigenous Australians gather in the one spot to play footy.
That's why this year's cancellation of the 50th Koori Knockout comes as a sad shock for Kelly who had the Shoalhaven event over the October long weekend circled.
"It's a shame that it's been postponed until next year but it'll make next year so much better because we'll be able to have crowds," Kelly said.
"It's a cracker of a weekend. Everyone loves it and it's disappointing but I'm keen to get out there next year."
Kelly's history at the Koori Knockout is a lengthy one as the 25-year-old Orange Barbarians captain-coach has been travelling to various destinations for the tournament since he was a kid.
"I've been going there since I can remember, all my family's played in it," he said.
"It makes you very proud to be an Indigenous man... some of the talent there is incredible.
"Some of the guys who throw on the boots are good enough to play on TV if they had the opportunity."
It's no surprise that the event always brings out the best in the Indigenous rugby league community and Kelly spoke about some of his culture's icons from previous years who have gone on to be some of the code's most influential athletes.
"Preston Campbell and Matty Bowen," he said. "Those two are so nippy and so fiery.
"Their hearts are bigger than their bodies and there's not a thing they can't do.
"And, that's what happens at the Koori Knockout... your heart expands.
"It's so special to go out there and play with your brothers and it's the toughest form of football because everyone's so passionate and is playing for their families and their culture."
Kurt Beahan's another Indigenous rugby league player from Orange who's set to captain-coach the United Warriors in the Wallerawang Landscaping Cup and says the Koori Knockout is far more than just a tournament.
"Footy's just an avenue to bring everyone together," Beahan said.
"It's the largest gathering of Aboriginal people in the country and it's very special to me and it's special to all of us.
"To get the family together and play with the boys... I've never won one but they say there's no better feeling."
While the cancellation of this year's event is a disappointing one, it's a decision that Beahan supports.
"It was probably the wise thing to do," he said.
"If we can't bring all of our people together then it's not really serving its cause."
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