Walker runs away with title
DUAL international Andrew Walker led the Boomanulla Knight Riders to a 22-12 victory over La Perouse Panthers to win the 2011 Ella Sevens at a soaked BCU International Stadium on Saturday.
Walker, a former Wallabies and Kangaroo representative was part of a side that also included former Australian Sevens representatives Tim Cornforth and Arthur Little.
The star-studded line-up defied the wet conditions in a four-tries-to-two triumph to claim a share of the record $33,000 prizemoney.
Walker showed he’s still a force to be reckoned with on the field, scoring the final try of the match to complete the 10-point win.
In the omen’s cup final, Redfern All Blacks overturned a 10-point deficit at half-time to defeat Murri Magic 29-17.
Redfern’s five-tries-to-three victory sealed a near-perfect showing by the iconic sporting club after it earlier survived a 15-all draw against Coffs Coast Glitz in the semis to progress to the final on a superior for-and-against record.
The tournament is the marquee event for the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team, an organisation dedicated to promoting rugby union to young indigenous men and women while increasing participation in the sport.
Rugby royalty Gary, Mark and Glen Ella were in attendance to oversee proceedings at the two-day event which has grown to include 44 teams.
Mark Ella said he was impressed with the tournament’s continued growth and popularity.
“It is wonderful to see how in a few short years what began as a simple idea from Tom Evans and my brother Glen has grown into one of the premier sevens contests in Australia,” the former Wallabies star said.
“More importantly it gives Aboriginal men and women an opportunity to display their talent in a nationally respected forum.”
The Lloyd McDermott team will now turn their attention to selecting men’s and women’s National Indigenous Squads which will go on to compete at the Central Coast and Byron Bay Sevens tournaments.
“Plans are also in the works to stage sevens rugby camps for boys and girls at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern,” Ella said.
“And the sport’s reinstatement to the Olympics in 2016 is huge incentive for the youngsters.”
Meanwhile, the Mid North Coast zone teams were forced to share bragging rights after the opening Country championship clash with New England fell foul of the weather.
Administrator Des Hoy said a packed schedule meant the Axemen will head to the two-day carnival in Lismore at the end of the month without a solid hit-out under the belt.
“We looked at the calendar and there’s no room anywhere for a replay,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a nuisance as I thought on home soil we might have been a chance in those conditions but there’s not much else we can do.”