THE largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rugby Sevens tournament kicks-off on new turf this weekend, with the Ella Sevens debuting in Dubbo.
Thirty-two teams will take centre stage this weekend, including 2019's winners; Brisbane's Highlanders (women) and South Coast's Southern Kings (men).
The Kings are headlined by Shoalhaven Rugby Club's Steven Brandon, Mark Brandon, Kieran Brandon and Scott Webb, who guided them to a Kiama Sevens Bowl victory on Saturday.
Rounding out the squad, which have nine returning from last year's victorious side, are George Kepu- Morseu, Andrew Walker, Elliot Stewart, Jake Webb, Mitch Whiteley, Greg Davis, Albert Nona and Matt Morrison.
Now in its 12th year, the competition has expanded to three days to include local school competitions which will see primary school teams taking to the field on Thursday and high school teams battling it out on Friday.
Rugby Australia's high-performance team will be scouting for fresh talent after uncovering several First Nations stars including Australian Sevens hotshots John Porch, Maurice Longbottom and Mahalia Murphy.
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Wallabies legend and former president of the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team Gary Ella said the Ella Sevens represents a huge stepping stone for the code.
''Rugby recognises that we need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders donning the green and gold jersey and this tournament offers that opportunity," Ella said.
''We've seen players fast-tracked to the top in just a matter of months so it's always an exciting time when we first spot them at the Ella Sevens.
''We'll also have Aboriginal health and wellbeing providers as well as the YARPA Indigenous Employment Hub set up on the sidelines to chat with players."
All the action kicks-off Appex Oval in Dubbo on Thursday morning at 9am, with the finals being played on Saturday at 6pm.
Joining Southern Kings in the men's competition are fellow South Coast based side the Kinghtriders, as well as the Bourke Warriors, Skindogs Gold, La Perouse RUFC, Mehi Warriors, Skindogs, Mob Deep, C Q Black Magic, Brothers United, Walgett Sevens, North Coast Magpies, Dubbo Rhinos, Gomeroi Goannas, Tingha Warriors, Hamilton Hawks, Bre Brumbies, Bourke Rams, Mallos Magpies, Mr Jesters Inn, Gathang Gan Gans, Charlie French Memorial, Dirty Ruckers and Sydney Sea Turtles.
While the Highlanders will go up against Gracie Aboriginal Pathways, Maroubra Thunders, Tingha Warriors, Highlanders Development, Coonamble Cougars, Mr Jesters Inn and Rhinos Women in the women.