THE two YUIN Snakes teams have again done the region proud at the recent PCYC NSW Nations of Origin tournament, held in the Hunter.
The carnival brings together close to 100 teams from 25 NSW Aboriginal nations, to contest under 16s boys and girls rugby league 7s, under 14s boys and girls football fives and under 14s netball competitions – with the YUIN boys and girls teams reaching the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
“On the first day, the boys team were the only side to score more than 30 points a game – with them scoring every single set bar one,” team mentor senior constable Nathan Ward said.
“As such we finished first after day one and went into the quarter-finals as the top ranked team.
“We were leading the quarter-final 8-nil early but then went away from what had gotten us to that point and our achilles heels - little speed of the edges and size through the middle – were exposed by a bigger side.
“AWAKABAL, who actually won the premiers final, scored right on half-time to make it 8-6 and in the second half it was all one way traffic unfortunately.”
The girls, who also wore the specially designed Rodney Seymour jerseys, went one step further then their male counterparts.
“The girls were incredible – they finished sixth after the first day but were able to upset the third ranked team by two tries in their quarter-final,” team mentor senior constable Stephen White said.
“Then in the semi-final, AWAKABAL were pretty slick and defeated us 24-10 before they went on to win the premiers finals.”
Both White and Ward, who have been part of the Snakes since its origin, ranked this year as the most successful.
“The whole experience this year was by far the best – the two groups came together so well, on and off the field,” Ward said.
“We had kids all from Ulladulla all the way up to Port Kembla involved and every single one of them bought into the program.
“On top of that, we had the biggest supporter base of any of the nations in attendance – which shows how much it means to all the families and community as a whole.
“It’s now our role to capture that audience and keep them engaged – especially as a lot of the players are eligible for selection again next year.”
Ward and White acknowledged the boys standout players as Jayden Sullivan, Jared Hendrie and Riley Wooden, while the girls stars were Hannah Koglin, Ally England and Tali Farrell-Wellington.
YUIN Snakes boys squad: Jarad Maynard, Taylor Haydock, Ky Lukas, Nigel Waldron, Adrian Blair ©, Chaise Boulding, Jared Hendrie, Riley Wooden, Brayden Omoeboh, Luke Millard, Jayden Sullivan and Jace Barnes with Nathaniel Morrison as coach.
YUIN Snakes girls squad: Maria Coslovich, Marle Ashby, Tali Farrell-Wellington ©, Elly Austin, Holly Finch, Katie Murray, Hannah Koglin ©, Kelsi Richards, Ella Conlon, Ally England, Georgie Fitzpatrick and Bronte Walsh with Talia Atfield and Aimee Lonesborough as the co-coaches.