Gumbaynggirr Coffs Coast Raidettes play at Koori Knockout

The Coffs Coast Raidettes women’s team.

GUMBAYNGGIRR Coffs Coast Raidettes teams have proudly represented their region at this year’s Koori Knockout in Tuggerah.

The Raidettes had three teams who competed at the prestigious Indigenous rugby league carnival, taking women’s, Under 17 girls, and Under 15 girls teams.

It was the first time Coffs Harbour had entered women’s and girls teams in the Koori Knockout.

The Raidettes sides are part of the Gumbaynggirr Coffs Coast Raiders, a club which reformed this year after playing in the 1990s, as they took part in this year’s East Coast Tribal League season.

Raidettes women’s captain Heather Duncan said it was a special moment for Coffs women and girls teams to take part in the Koori Knockout for the first time.

“It was special, representing our local community and families, that’s what Koori Knockout is about,” she said.

“It was such a successful event for our Raidettes club and for our Coffs Harbour community.

“This is the first time ever that Coffs Harbour had taken away any women’s and girls teams to this event.

“We were training for nine weeks leading up to this event, and we bought 75 players together with all their families.

“We are extremely proud of everyone’s efforts.”

Duncan gave a recap of how the Raidettes teams fared at the Koori Knockout.

“Our 15s girls got beat in the first game against Newcastle Yowies, that team won the 15s grand final,” she said.

“Our 17s girls won the first game against Dunghutti Connections, and then got beat in the second game against Northern United who later took out the 17s grand final.

“Our women’s team won our first game against Bowerbids from Sydney which was a really good game.

“This was our first game together as a team, some of the girls this was their first Koori Knockout but also their first game of rugby league.

“We went down in the second game to Darkinjung.”

Duncan said the Raidettes planned to return in 2024.

“The Coffs Coast Raiders will continue to participate in the Koori Knockout every year and this includes other rugby league events around NSW and Queensland for men, women and our youth,” she said.

“We will be bigger and better next year, and we are looking for more sponsors to help us take men’s women’s, Under 15 and 17 girls and boys teams, in total taking six teams in 2024.”

Kristy Hart has helped to get the Raiders club off the ground and is the current chairperson.

She shared the background into the Raiders and how they reformed.

“The Coffs Coast Raiders were a rugby league team that existed in the 1990s, where local men came together to represent the community at the NSW Koori Knockout level which is a state-wide, prestigious Aboriginal event,” she said.

“Growing up listening to the stories of what has been told throughout the years, Heather Duncan asked community members to see if there is any chance of revitalising the Coffs Coast Raiders.

“Her vision was to create a pathway for women and our youth to have a safe and positive environment.

“I jumped at the chance.”

Hart was looking forward to another big year on the field after a successful 2023.

“This has been a successful year by participating in the East Coast Tribal League, which is a rugby league competition that is well known on the North Coast,” she said.

“The Bundjalung Tiddas Women Rugby League Gala Day was held at the Sports Ground in Yamba and the NSW Koori Rugby League Knockout Carnival was held in Tuggerah.

“The achievement that we have had throughout the year has been an incredible journey.

“The Indigenous community thanking the Gumbaynggirr Raiders Committee for letting their daughters participate in the team has all been worth it, and we cannot wait to see what next year brings.”


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