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Ramien trains with NSW Under 16s Koori team

The Koori Under 16s have used Sydney’s recent humid weather to help prepare them to return the Steve ‘Bear’ Hall Shield to NSW, when they face the Queensland Murri Carnival Under 16s in Brisbane tomorrow.

The 22-member NSW team was selected from the three-day KARI Foundation-NSWRL Talented Aboriginal Athlete Program (TAAP) camp held at NSWRL’s Centre of Excellence last November. Then a three-day camp was held at Sydney Olympic Park before travelling north.

Hall, who died in 2019, worked at the Western Suburbs Magpies, the Wests Tigers and the NSWRL in coaching and development roles, and started the Under 16s Indigenous program in 2003.

The match has not been played for four years due to the COVID border restrictions but NSW still remembers the 36-26 loss to Queensland in 2018, which was played as the curtain-raiser to the South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George Illawarra Dragons Charity Shield game in Mudgee.

Coach Anthony McBride has been grateful the recent hot and stormy weather in Sydney has given his players a taste of Brisbane’s humidity.

“It’s been an ideal time to get these boys training in these summer conditions; that has helped us greatly,” he said.

For two players, Lochi Moses (Dharawal) and Darcy Smith (Wiradjuri-Torres Strait Islander), the game is a ‘marriage’ between their Indigenous heritage and the sport of Rugby League.

“It’s like bringing two good things that I love and mixing them into one great thing,” Moses told

Moses, who plays for the Rabbitohs in UNE Harold Matthews Cup, was celebrating his 16th birthday when he arrived in camp and was greeted by McBride.

“I’m expecting a lot of excitement and intensity in the camp and then a really good game,” Moses said. “It’s a big thing for me to run out with the boys.”

Smith, who is a Kincumber Colts Junior but plays for the Central Coast Roosters in the SLE Andrew Johns Cup, is a lock-second rower and is eager to learn.

“My first goal was to make this team and now I want to use this to improve my skills and understanding of the game,” Smith said.

“Dad introduced me to Rugby League when I was four and I haven’t stopped playing since.”

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks centre Jesse Ramien joined the Koori Under 16s first training session at Sydney’s Wentworth Park on Wednesday.

The players will have two field sessions on Thursday before leaving for Brisbane on Friday, where they will then train at the Brisbane Broncos’ NRL headquarters at Red Hill.

Two opposed sessions have been organised there against two other NSW teams for the Murri Carnival – the Open Women’s Indigenous team and the Newcastle All Black men’s.

“I think it’s a great idea to give these young players some exposure to older, more experienced teams,” McBride said.

“It’s only a short-turnaround so we wanted to give these guys as much footy, recovery and nutrition training as we could.”

The match will be played at 3.45pm (AEDT) at Bill Norris Oval at Beenleigh, on Brisbane’s southern outskirts.

Click here to watch the live stream of the NSW Koori Under 16s v Queensland Murri Carnival Under 16s.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales 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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