Simpson aims to complete hat-trick of challenges, plus one

BALLINA rugby league player Luke Simpson has one last challenge in 2013.

Simpson, 23, won a premiership with Ballina and made the Northern Rivers representative side for the first time this season.

He also represented Northern Bundjalung in the invitational Timber Cup game in June.

Now Simpson will line up for the Arakwal Eagles in the Aboriginal Knockout Carnival in Lismore next weekend.

The Eagles won last year when the carnival was held in Byron Bay.

It returns to Lismore for the first time since 2009 with $6000 prize money on offer.

"The money is just a bonus, this carnival is about coming together with friends and family," Simpson said.

"The standard is getting better every year and it's no walk in the park.

"Players go out there to represent their family and it's probably the most physical footy you'll play all year."

There are 14 teams entered so far with the carnival capped for a maximum of 16 teams.

Simpson looks forward to playing alongside some of his regular teammates from Ballina as well as the like of Caleb and Chris Binge.

The Eagles hope to defend their title and use the carnival as a final hit-out before the NSW Indigenous Knockout Carnival in Raymond Terrace next month.

"This is the 42nd year they've had that one and the winner gets to host it the next year," Simpson said.

"It's been about 15 years since a team from here has hosted it and it's something we really want to do."

There are teams from Kempsey and a combined Wee Waa, Narrabri and Tamworth side coming to the Lismore carnival.

"This year will be one of the biggest," carnival organiser Grantley Creighton said.

"The carnival has a good reputation and it gets bigger every year."

Entry is $7 with kids under-12s free.

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