Sunday, July 10, will mark a special occasion on the Kempsey sporting calendar as Group Three's best players come together at Verge Street Oval for the Indigenous All-Stars vs All-Stars fixture.
While the game is currently in doubt due to the recent wet weather, Macleay Valley Mustangs coach Anthony Cowan is hopeful the game will continue to bring the community together.
"I think there's no better place to have this game than in Kempsey," he said. "We have a big and strong Aboriginal community here, and I think it's not only great for the game but also for the community.
"It's always special to play for your club and your representative jumper, but when you play for your culture, your community and your people... you just go into a whole different beast mode.
"It's not about what colour your skin is or anything like that, it's just about representing your culture and your community."
Cowan said leadership, pride and passion are what the players take away from the game.
"It's good for the players to experience that leadership, pride and passion," he said. "It's not just about being passionate and proud of your Indigenous culture and your community, it's also about taking that leadership away to your club level and to the younger generation too.
"A lot of kids here look up to Indigenous men and women, especially in rugby league as it's massive in our community. If we can inspire them to say, 'I want to be that person and represent my culture and community too', then I think that's what's really important about this game as well."
Both men's sides have been announced with Ethan Cooper, Ethan Thompson, Harold Thompson, Isaiah Barker, Miles Mongta, Mal Webster and Tirell Dungay the Macleay Valley Mustangs Group Three representatives.
Cowan said it's always good for the players to be a part of the Indigenous All-Stars vs All-Stars game.
"It will be just a great time for these young boys, who are our next generation coming through, to put that jumper on and represent their culture and community," he said.
"Us leaders will be there and guide them to make sure that when they get that chance to be leaders for the next generation, they can then bring them through and keep that cycle going."
Sunday's fixture is currently depending on whether a decision will be made to cancel the game due to the heavy rainfall.
Cowan is no stranger to the recent wet weather impacts as the Macleay Valley Mustangs vs Port Macquarie Sharks game was postponed last Sunday (July 3) when Verge Street Oval at Kempsey was closed following rain. The game is now scheduled to be played in August.
Cowan said he doesn't think the game will be able to be rescheduled if this weekend's fixture doesn't go ahead.
"I think it's unlikely to be rescheduled this year if it is called off because of the situation that we're in at the moment with all the catch-up games we've had to schedule," he said. "That's just my opinion, I just don't think there would be any room for this game to be played at a later date if it does get postponed.
"It will be great if it can get rescheduled, but at the end of the day it is what it is and you can't do much about it. Hopefully we can get better weather next year and keep the game rolling."
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