SHELLHARBOUR-based indigenous women's rugby league team Sistza Strong will undertake a huge task this weekend, when they participate in their first NSW Aboriginal Knockout competition at Raymond Terrace.
This will be the first time that a Shellharbour indigenous women's team will participate in the famous event and team organiser Marie MacDonald said the side was excited.
"This is the 43rd annual knockout and it brings together teams from all over the state, with 44 men's teams and 13 women's sides, so as you can imagine, it is a massive gathering once you add in team officials, supporters and kids," McDonald said.
"We have 19 very excited players who just can't wait to get up there and get into it.
"The team has been lucky enough to gain the services of 15-year-old Brittney Constable, who is a member of the Australian under-16 Oztag team which is just returning from New Zealand.
"Most of our players play in the Illawarra Women's Rugby League competition with Port Kembla, Berkeley or Western Suburbs."
The team has been busy fund-raising for the event, hosting a successful barefoot bowls day and raffles at Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club.
"The club gave us a wonderful donation and we raised more than $500 in raffles, while Shellharbour City Council also helped," McDonald said.
While excited about the event, the team was also a tad apprehensive as they awaited their draw. "Because it's a knockout it's very much 'luck-of-the-draw' as to how far you go in the competition," McDonald said.
"We know how tough some of the teams will be, particularly the Redfern team who have won it on many occasions and have several Australian players."
While Siszta Strong will fly the proverbial flag for the Shellharbour area, the region will be well-represented elsewhere.
The Illawarra Titans are fielding men's and women's teams, and the strong Saltwater Crocodiles are expected to be highly competitive.