JAMES Wellington always dreamt of sending a South Coast team to the Koori Knockout, which happened for the first time in 2019.
Not only did James' brother Ben and his South Coast Black Cockatoos compete the 49th annual Knockout, but they also won the event, defeating Griffith Three Ways 40-12 in the final - which brought Ben to tears during his trophy acceptance speech.
The enormity of this victory at the Central Coast can not be underestimated, as it was confirmed on Wednesday the Bomaderry Sporting Complex, a ground James himself played on, would host the 50th anniversary event - something that wouldn't have even been in James' wildest dreams.
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After long negotiations with the Shoalhaven City Council, Ben, Mel and Cleone Wellington along with the rest of the Black Cockatoos committee, are over the moon to be able to host next year's October long weekend event in the Shoalhaven - their desired location all along.
The three-day rugby league tournament, which could bring an estimated $5 million to the local economy, will see close to 150 teams across seven divisions descend on the Shoalhaven - including open men and women, under 17 boys, under 16 girls, under 15 boys and under 12 boys and girls - as well as a massive supporter base, which is estimated to be vicinity of more than 20,000 people per day.
This year's event featured a host of current and past NRL stars, such as Ben Wellington, Andrew Fifita, Josh Addo-Carr, Cody Walker, Tyrone Peachey, Kotoni Staggs, Brent Naden, Josh Kerr, Nathan Merritt, Will Smith, Chris Sandow, Nicho Hynes, Brian Kelly, Greg Inglis and of course Dylan Farrell, who played for the Black Cockatoos.