February 9, 2017
Former South Sydney and Parramatta NRL player Chris Sandow was the Cherbourg Hornets’ “secret weapon” when they played for the honour of Queensland against a NSW side in Newcastle on Thursday night.
The Hornets, who won the State Murri Rugby League Carnival in September at Redcliffe, faced the Redfern All Blacks, winners of the 2016 Koori Knockout Carnival at Leichhardt Oval.
The “Awabakal All Stars Interstate Challenge” was part of a big week of rugby league in Newcastle, leading up to the massive Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars game on Friday night.
However, Thursday night’s clash between the best Indigenous teams in Queensland and NSW was also a keenly anticipated match-up.
Both Cherbourg and Redfern enjoyed success in their local competitions in 2016: Cherbourg took home both the South Burnett premiership as well as the Burnett Cup after wins over the Nanango Stags and the Mundubbera Tigers.
The Redfern All Blacks (RAB) defeated the Coogee-Randwick Wombats in the Grand Final of the South Sydney District Juniors competition.
Unfortunately for the Queensland visitors, Redfern – with two former NRL players, Nathan Merritt and Dean Widders, in their ranks – proved too strong on the night.
RAB got away to a strong start, at one stage leading 12-0 but the Hornets fought back and were far from disgraced.
The final score was 34-12.
The full game will be broadcast on NITV on Sunday.
Reserves – Kevin Saltner, Willie Georgetown, Maurie Fisher, Liam Georgetown, Cyril Georgetown, Fred Cobbo and Gary Wilmott.
Footnote: Awabakal are the traditional owners of the Newcastle area.
An U16s Queensland v NSW game will be played as a warm-up to the Awabakel Challenge.
A Cherbourg player has also been selected for this squad:
18th man – Ben McKellar – Charleville
Shadow and Support – Rodney Wailu-Walsh – Sarina
Shadow and Support – Denzel Borthwick – Bribie Island & District
UPDATE: In the U16s, NSW came back in the second half to win 16-14 over Queensland.