The 2023 NAIDOC Cup kicked off in style albeit in rain-soaked conditions as Valentine Sports Park played host to an action-packed day one of results on Darug country.
The increasingly popular First Nation tournament saw four games take place on the first day of competition, with Northern NSW defeating Football NSW in the under-14s boys 6-2 in the opening match on Monday.
It was an intense battle in the first half between both sides with Football NSW’s Marli Wright scoring in the first minute before Northern NSW player Ashtyn Ferguson returned fire to equalize in the seventh minute. Wright was at it again as he scored his second in the 11th minute before Ferguson again restored parity scoring his second of the match also in the 23rd minute.
Northern NSW came out roaring smashing four unanswered goals into the back of the net thanks to Archie Kellett and a superb hat-trick by Chase McFayden, confirming the 6-2 victory for Northern NSW’s under-14s boys.
Football NSW proved too strong in the under-14s girls, defeating Northern NSW 15-0.
It was another tight affair in the under-16s boys as Northern NSW narrowly went down 3-4 in the dying minutes of the match.
Matthew Bates and Kaiden Boldery put Northern NSW in front after 22 minutes before Football NSW responded via Lucas Turk and Anthony Melissari.
With the scores locked at 2-2 at the break, it was Northern NSW who came out strong in the second as Konen Smith put his side ahead in the 42nd minute.
Turk found his second goal of the match and the equaliser in the 64th minute before an unfortunate own goal by Ty Stoker in the 78th all but gave the win to Football NSW.
In the day’s final match, the under-16s girls saw Northern NSW prove too strong for Football NSW with a 3-0 victory.
Kealah Boldery got the party started for the visitors before Kalani Ryan notched up a brace just before half-time to secure an opening-day win.
Day three matches kick off at 9am and see each team play each other once more in what promises to be a fitting farewell.
The official medal ceremony and cup presentation will be held at 3:15pm which will also feature the announcement of the players of the tournament.
Day Two NAIDOC Cup Results
Northern NSW 6 (Ashtyn Ferguson 2, Archie Kellett, Chase McFayden 3)
Football NSW 2 (M Wright 2)
Northern NSW 0
Football NSW 15 (L Wynne 8, Khloe Houghton 2, Te’Annah Bates, Maddison Houghton, Tikka Jeffery, Keira McCown - own goal))
Northern NSW 3 (Matthew Bates, Kaiden Boldery, Konen Smith)
Football NSW 4 (L Turk 2, Anthony Melissari, Ty Stoker - own goal)
Northern NSW 3 (Kealah Boldery, Kalani Ryan 2)
Football NSW 0
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