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Laurie Daley will coach the First Nation Goannas at the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League.

The men’s and women’s Indigenous and Maori squads have been named ahead of the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League in February next year.

The 2018 Festival will be the second of its kind, with a week-long celebration planned in Sydney, ahead of the men’s and women’s matches on Saturday 10 February at Redfern Oval.

Six teams will play as part of the Festival, including an Interstate Challenge match between teams from Queensland and New South Wales.

Popular Indigenous All Stars elements will also form part of the Festival, including the Youth Summit, a Wellbeing and Employment Expo and NRL Indigenous Players Camp.

NRL General Manager of Indigenous Strategy, Mark Deweerd said the Festival was an exciting way to welcome in the 2018 rugby league year.

“Rugby League’s Indigenous ties are extensive throughout the game, with 12% of the NRL playing group identifying as Indigenous and more than 17% of grassroots players hailing from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds,” Mr Deweerd said.

“The Festival provides an opportunity for communities to acknowledge and celebrate the next generation of Indigenous and Maori players outside of the NRL that are coming through the ranks.

“It will be a wonderful occasion as the teams run onto Redfern Oval next year – a site that has been a spiritual home for many Indigenous people over many years.”

Tickets for the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League are on sale now at

Teams playing at Redfern Oval on Saturday 10 February include:

Men – First Nation Goannas vs. New Zealand Maori

Women – First Nation Gems vs. New Zealand Maori Ferns

Interstate Challenge – Newcastle Yowies (NSW) vs. Dhadin Geai Warriors (QLD)


Squads for the men’s and women’s Indigenous and Maori teams are as follows (with all teams named in surname alphabetical order):

First Nation Goannas

Isaac Briggs

Randall Briggs

Josh Charles

Brenton Cochrane

Wes Conlon

Adrian Davis

Greg Davis

Bennett Leslie

Tristan Lumley

Will Merritt

Zac Merritt

Wes Middleton

Maipele Morseu

Michael Purcell

Trent Rose

Dan Tanner

Justin Toomey-White

Noel Underwood

Kieran Vale

Ryan Walker

Coach: Laurie Daley


First Nation Gems

Layla Fauid

Sarah Field

Eunice Grimes

Tahlia Hunter

Rikka Lane

Samartha Leisha

Kazzia Lemmon

Tanika Marshall

Kiara Maza

Sharon McGrady

Stephanie Mooka

Kaitlin Moss

Carly Phillips

Amber Pilley

Paris Robinson

Taleena Simon

Ash Singleton

Rihanna Sutherland

Shakia Tungai

Shaylin Williams

Coach: Ben Jeffries


New Zealand Maori

Anthony Cherrington

Brad Clark

Zach Clay

Levi Dodd

Carne Doyle Manga

Patrick Herbert

Jake Jackson

Paoro Kemp

Jesse Malcom

Rulon Nutira

Piki Rogers

Kurtis Rowe

Manaia Rudolph

Dylan Smith

Reuben Taylor

Spike Teo

O’Shea Tuisua

Aussie Tuwhangai

Waka Wanahi

Clayton Williams

Parahi Wilson

Coach: Mark Horo


New Zealand Maori Ferns

Billy-Jean Ale

Jess Bennett

Aleasha Brider

Sherri Burgess

Teina Clark

Jocephy Daniels

Te Aroha Hapuku

Chanel Hundleson

Kerehitina Matua

Terehia Matua

Tanika-Jazz Noble

Lisa Rua

Jonsal Tautari

Karley Te Kawa

Kadison-Tyra Robertson

Liahona Wanoa

Geneva Webber

Kararaina Wira-Kohu

Sharnita Woodman

Suzanne Yee

Coach: Victor Heke

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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