THE INAUGURAL National Indigenous Football Championships are just a few short weeks away and the local Northern Nations teams have been putting the finishing touches on their game.
In its first year, the national competition will be held in Shoalhaven from November 3-5.
Teams from across New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand will battle for the trophy.
The Northern Nations men’s and women’s sides met in Armidale on the weekend to train and team organiser Dave Widders said the talent in both teams is outstanding.
"I was really stoked with the weekend,” he said.
"To see the quality of players we have got, and in particularly our women's team, is just phenomenal.
"There is about three or four from the coast who will be throwing their names forward for national selection for the women's team for sure.
"The talent was just above what I expected to be honest.”
The local teams will be up against some tough competition with teams from capital cities filled with rising stars of the game.
Widders said they are confident of toppling those sides to claim the prize.
"Just from a personal side of things, we have a real confidence in ourselves that we are going to go down and really give them a good shake,” he said.
"There is one side from Sydney which has a lot of the Sydney premier league players.
"I heard there is a Brisbane side coming down and they are coming from a lot of premier league sides from that area there. That doesn't phase us because the natural, raw talent we have got and the way we have blended is really promising.”
The tournament has been embraced by soccer’s governing bodies and a team of celebrities will also take to the field in a charity match for the Johnny Warren Football Foundation.
Widders said interest in the competition exceeded expectations and predicts the fixture will continue for years to come.
"I personally think this will outgrow the rugby league knockout. Give it five years to find its feet and find itself,” he said.
The Socceroos meanwhile hung on for a pulsating 2-2 draw in their World Cup qualifier with Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on Friday morning.
The Saudis took an early lead but Australia worked their way into a winning position thanks to goals from Trent Sainsbury just before the break and Tomi Juric with 20 minutes left.
But Saudi substitute Nasser Al Shamrani popped up in the box to poke home the equaliser with ten minutes to go.
Aussie keeper Mat Ryan pulled off a vital stop in the final few minutes as the Socceroos held on for a vital point.
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