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Waterloo Storm warning: “We’ll be back again next year!”

Rowena Welsh-Jarrett has played football – rugby union and rugby league – since she was nine years old reports Andrew Collis in the December 2007 edition of the South Sydney Herald.

Previously a prop forward with the Redfern All Blacks she is currently captain of the Waterloo Storm, an Indigenous women’s rugby league team that trains at Waterloo Oval.

Coached by former international and Randwick winger, William Gordon, the 20-player squad has recently returned from Lismore where the Storm competed in the NSW Annual Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival.

2007 marks 37 years of the Knockout Carnival. It’s a drug- and alcohol-free weekend that attracts 60 or more teams, thousands of Aboriginal spectators, and is a major sporting and cultural event.

“There were eight women’s sides competing, and the Storm made the semis,” Welsh-Jarrett says.

“We were beaten by the Wollumbin Warriors from Tweed Heads way who went on to win the comp. It was tough, playing three games in one day. And it was hot, too,” she says.

“I’m really proud of the girls. We’re a young side. The average age is just 17 years. We’ll be back to compete again next year!”

The Storm receives sponsorship from Mudgin-Gal, a women’s referral and advocacy service, and from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Heidi Norman of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at UTS, describes the Knockout as a “modern day corroborree” that “continues to be organised along kinship and nation-based affiliations”.

It is, Norman says, “a vehicle for the continuation and regeneration of cultural traditions, the means by which new communities are forged, and a way to reconnect and celebrate being Aboriginal in an all-Aboriginal celebratory and successful environment.”

“Our sponsors help us a lot,” says Welsh-Jarrett. “They helped with hiring a bus, a 25-seater, and we stayed up at Byron Bay.”

With respect to gathering a strong community at Waterloo, Welsh-Jarrett says, “We’re hoping to add leadership and mentoring programs to the activities of the club in 2008 – and maybe even netball!”

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2007