"Get used to having the Knockout in the country."
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That was the message from Walgett Aboriginal Connection (WAC) legend George Rose after Bathurst was announced as host of the 2024 Koori Knockout.
WAC confirmed on Thursday, November 16, they would be taking the time-honoured carnival to Bathurst after winning this year's edition of the Knockout at Tuggerah.
Bathurst beat the likes of Dubbo and Wagga in the race for the Knockout but Rose has no doubt their chance to host will come again sooner rather than later.
"We want to put everything we can into this to make it a great event, a memorable event," Rose said at the announcement.
"And listening to the way people are talking, the western teams are coming. The country teams are coming.
"So get used to having the Knockout in the country because all these country teams are coming for you."
Teams from the western area, in particular, have made a real impact in the Knockout in recent years.
This year, the grand final was played between WAC and a Wiradjuri Aboriginal Rivers side which drew in players from Dubbo, Bathurst, Forbes and other towns round the region.
A year earlier, the Castlereagh All Blacks and Nanima Common Connection - from Wellington - made the semi-finals while the Bourke Warriors, Wellington Wedgetails and Goodooga Magpies all played in the quarter-finals.
This year's event at Tuggerah was hailed as a huge success and Rose has no doubt Bathurst will deliver another memorable carnival next year.
Matches will be played in the juniors, women's and men's divisions and it will run from Friday through to the Monday of the October long weekend.
WAC has already confirmed games will be played at the six fields on Hereford Street, where the Bathurst St Pat's rugby league sides and Bathurst Bulldogs union teams play.
"It's got everything we wanted," Rose said of Bathurst.
"It's a great venue. The fields down there (Hereford Street) are amazing. We've got six really good fields and it's going to be a fantastic spot for the weekend.
"Everyone's going to have a good time, I guarantee that."
The event will also bring some of the biggest names in the game to the west.
Kotoni Staggs and Cody Walker spoke at Thursday's announcement while Jack Wighton, Ben Barba, Blake Ferguson and Jesse Ramien were just some of the other stars who played at Tuggerah.
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