THE prospect of securing the famedKoori Knockout to Wagga is fuelling motivation through Murrumbidgee Crows’ player ranks.

Held annually since 1970, the Koori Knockout brings together 75 teams from across New South Wales for what is hailed one of the biggest indigenous gatherings in Australia.

As well as the honour and prestige that comes with taking out the large scale sporting event, the winning team is awarded the privilege of hosting the following year’s tournament.

Former Southcityplaymaker Clifford Morris is one of a handful of Wollongong and Sydney based players who will unite with a contingent of Group Nine and Group 20 footballersto tackle the tournament.

Morris, who played for Corrimal Cougars in the Illawarra Rugby League premiership this year, is looking forward to lining up for theCrowsat the Lakeside Sporting Complex at Raymond Terracein October.

“Everyone wants to win this competition,” he said.

“If you win, the big bonus is that you get to bring the tournament to your home town.

“To bring this competition to the region would be huge. It’s something we would all love to do.”

While the chance to bring the knockout to Wagga is serving as strong incentive for players in the lead-up to the tournament, Morris doesn’t underestimate the adversity facing country squads as they square off with the powerful city teams.

“We have made the finals the last few years but there are some very strong teams up there,” he said.

“Newcastle has won it back-to-back, and they have Timana Tahu as their captain-coach.

“There are a few clubs that have current NRL or ex-NRL players who play in their sides so it’s a pretty strong competition.”

The Murrumbidgee Crows will be coached by Jay Little, and will boast the likes of Southcity speedster Peter Little and hulking prop Wayne Goolagong.

“Playing in this team means a lot to the boys because it’s a chance to represent your community, and your family, and you don’t want to let those people down,” he said.

“We take a lot of pride in the gear we wear.”

With only months remaining before the squad will makethe meaningful and worthwhile journey to Newcastle, Morris said players are desperately trying to drum up the support needed to get the team to the tournament.

“This is a pretty expensive trip so we are trying to raise funds and get a few sponsors on board to help us get there,” he said.

Murrumbidgee Crows players and supporters will host a fundraising Trivia and Auction Night on FridayAugust 22 at the Commercial Club from 6pm.

Tickets are priced at $20 and include finger food and entertainment throughout the night.

To book a table or purchase an individual ticket, phone Leonie Dennis on 6937 9640 between 9am and 4pm.

Any businesses wishing to sponsor the team can also contact Leonie.

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