Mundine a knockout
By STEVE SPINKS and HELEN JACK
ANTHONY MUNDINE will headline a number of big-name Indigenous sports stars who will be in Lismore on Saturday week for the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout carnival.
'The Man' will be one of more than 5000 spectators at Oakes Oval and Crozier Field for the three-day carnival that will have the cream of the NRL mixing it with some of the best footballers in the bush.
Mundine played in the carnival in Sydney last year, but because of an eye infection that is threatening his boxing career, he is not expected to pull on the boots.
"He'll definitely be here," secretary of Northern United and NSW Council member Grantley Creighton said.
"He played for the Waterloo Storm last year."
Gold Coast Titans fullback Preston Campbell is another confirmed starter.
Campbell will run out with Tingha, which is captained-coached by former St George Illawarra flyer Nathan Blacklock.
Others who may play include Souths' Yilleen Gordon, Shannon Hegarty, David Peachey and Dean Widders, Penrith's Richie Williams and Newcastle's Brad Tighe.
Fredd Briggs, who played a few games for the Bulldogs after being plucked from the obscurity of the Jim Beam Cup, will also be here.
Manly legend Cliff Lyons will start for the South West Waratahs, while injured Souths fullback Nathan Merritt will be on hand to cheer on Merritt-Patten Redfern RLFC team, a team named in honour of a family member.
However, organisers won't know for certain what NRL players will turn up until Saturday, September 29, when the final player lists are nominated.
"Not to take anything away from the NRL boys, but some of the best football comes from the young boys who are testing themselves against quality competition," Creighton said.
While the Knockout is expected to attract 5000 spectators to Lismore, that number may increase if a rival Aboriginal Knockout Carnival at Kempsey set down for the same date does not go ahead.
Kempsey Council's community and customer services manager Kathy Oliver said the council, along with police, had refused an application by organisers to host the event because some details of proposed traffic plans and public liability were outstanding.
"We are meeting with the event organiser and we are committed to resolving the outstanding issues," she said. "We are meeting again and we hope to have everything resolved then."
Ms Oliver said the organisers needed to resubmit some paperwork but if that did not happen then the Kempsey knockout would not be going ahead.
A final decision will be made by Kempsey Council today.
A Kempsey-based team, the Gimbisi Warriors, is one of 35 teams nominated for the Lismore event.
The split between the events occurred at the end of last year's carnival which was won by the Sydney-based Merritt-Patten team.
Merritt-Patten and Northern United, a Northern Rivers team, are co-hosting the event.
The carnival is a straight knockout with the early round matches going for 20 minutes each way.
The semi-finals go for 30 minutes per half, while the final will be played for the full 80 minutes.