THE 2014 season got underway with the Narooma Indigenous Sevens team taking part in the Coffs Harbour Ella Sevens over the weekend. The competition is a first grade selection trial for the Australian Sevens team and the Australian Indigenous team. With Sevens being in the Olympics in Rio di Janeiro there is a lot of interest in the sport.
The local boys, the Muriyiras (local Aboriginal dialect for Whales), performed creditably under difficult circumstances. With several last minute withdrawals, including that of Koorin Campbell whose partner Jodie is expecting their second child, the squad was one short. The first game saw two of the squad being delayed by a traffic accident. The remaining nine players were made to pay by the Knightriders who not only had a full squad but one that was composed of professional players on NRL and ARU contracts.
The latecomers were available and played well in the next game against Biripi to win a close game, with Yuin Campbell crossing the chalk in the last minute to seal the result. The game against the Emus was a walkover. Unfortunately, Max Harrison had to sit out the last two games owing to injury. The loss of an important strike player told in the final pool game as several times the Muriyiras were able to make line breaks only to be hauled down because they lacked a player with Max’s gas to run the support lines.
In the end the boys did well to finish mid table in a very tight group, the final rankings being based on for and against. They made the semi-final of the bowl but sadly that game was a little one sided with the small squad running out of legs in the last minutes as the Northern United team took out the match and ultimately the final of the competition.
Overall the players had a great time and have expressed interest in returning to have another crack next year.
The next hit out will be the South Coast Tens which is on April 12. With their Sevens experience the Muriyiras will be ready for the reduced team size format.
The Muriyiras would like to thank the Katungul Aboriginal Corporation and the Narooma Sporting and Services Group for their generous support, without which they would not have played. They would also like thank Pieter Zuydervliet who gave up his weekend to act as strapper and help to drive the bus.
Knightriders 42 v Narooma Muriyas 0
Narooma Muriyas 15 v Biripi All Stars 12
Newcastle Emus 0 v Narooma Muriyas 28
South Coast Black Cockatoos 33v Narooma Muriyas 5
1 Knightriders 4-0
2 Cockatoos 2-0
3 Muriyias 2-0
4 All Stars 2-0
5 Emus 0-4
Try Scorers – Yuin Campbell. Troy Cook (2), Ashley Kenny, Brett Wellington.