Team History

OUR HISTORY

Timeline

2004
Sep 20

2004

Continued...

2005
Sep 10

2005

The next year (2005) saw Northern United rise and reach the final four of the NSW Aboriginal Knockout, where they went down 22-20 to the South West Metro team. A carnival highlight came from behind against the Mighty Moree Boomerangs where 5/8 Ray Mercy kicked a 40-20 in the dying stages of the game to allow Dave Briggs Snr to score and take the game. 

2006
Sep 10

2006

2006 saw Chris Binge appointed the A grade coach of the Ballina Seagulls, United prepare for a all out assault on the NSW Aboriginal Knockout (still held by 3 times winner the Cec Patten Ron Merritt Memorial Team) and the incorporation of Northern United RLFC – the first step toward becoming a professional rugby league organisation. The committee now consisted of President Steven Roberts Snr; Vice President Laurie Mercy; Secretary Russell Kapeen; Treasurer Grantley Creighton; Public Officer Darrell Creighton and Director Les Roberts Snr. 

The committee organised the first Northern United RLFC Knockout Carnival. It was held in Byron Bay and consisted of 10 teams from northern NSW - Moree to Kempsey. The prize money was $10,000 and the eventual winners were the Tabulam Turtledivers, who defeated the Yamba/ MacLean team in the final. 

Two weeks later the team played the 2006 NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival in Sydney. After winning their first two round games Northern United played reigning Knockout champions the Cec Patten Ron Merritt Memorial Team led by their mercurial halfback Wes Patten. Many saw it as the most entertaining game of the carnival, with the game locking at 10-10 all at the fulltime siren. After having a chance to win the game Northern United went down after South Sydney flyer Nathan Merritt went the length of the field to score. From this the Cec Patten Ron Merritt Memorial Team went on to win their fourth successive Knockout. 

2007
Sep 10

2007

Early in 2007 the committee met with Cec Patten Ron Merritt Memorial Team secretary, Rick Lyons Snr and Knockout co-ordinator Phil Hall and agreed to stage the 2007 Knockout carnival.  The 2007 NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout was an outstanding success and was won by the Tweed Heads Wollumbin Warriors team, lead by Brisbane Broncos superstar Sam Thaiday. Wollumbin defeated Northern United 14-4 and won their first ever Knockout.

2008
Sep 10

2008

2008 was the breakthrough year for Northern United. The club held its first rugby league Knockout in Lismore at Crozier Oval (then known as the Koori Mail Knockout). This was two weeks before the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout, held in Tweed Heads.  

United was successful in winning its own Knockout and defeated the Tabulam Turtledivers in the final, claiming the $5,000 winning prize. Stars for the United win included senior players Alwyn Roberts, Clarence Kelly & Brenton Cochrane. Younger players who shone in this match included Tyrone Roberts, Chris Binge Jnr & Ali Bolt Jnr – who all stepped up to senior Aboriginal rugby league.  After winning the Koori Mail Rugby League Knockout in Lismore, United competed in the 38th NSW Aboriginal Rugby League (in Tweed Heads) where they were defeated in the second round by the Narrandera team. United led 14-0 at the break, but went down 16-14. 

The dream came true in November 2008 for the Aboriginal people of the Bundjalung Nation. At the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) AGM the clubs of the NRRRL granted United approval to enter the mainstream competition for the 2009 season. They finally had their own team in the competition to support for the very first time. 

In their inaugural year the Northern United Dirawongs (as they were known - Dirawong meaning ‘goanna’ in the local Aboriginal language) surprised everyone associated with the NRRRL competition by storming into the Grand Final in their first attempt! 

This Grand Final was played at MacLean Showground against the Lower Clarence Magpies (another prominently Aboriginal team) in front of 4,000 spectators. It ended in a 21 – 20 win to the Lower Clarence team, after a field goal in the dying stages secured them victory. The Northern United team consisted of many talented Aboriginal players - Roy Bell, Alwyn Roberts, Michael Moran, Clarence Kelly and Fred Waters, who equalling the local competitions try scoring record with 38 tries for the season. 

2009
Sep 10

2009 to 2016

Since 2009, their inaugural year in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition, the Northern United Dirawongs have finished in the top three of the 14 team competition in years 2009, 2010 and 2011. The reserve grade teams have featured in the 2010 Grand Final and the Semi Finals in 2012, 2013. The Under 18’s have featured in the Semi Finals in 2009.

2014
Sep 20

2014

In 2014, NSW Government announcement of $1.7 million Clubs NSW grant to redevelop our training ground at Clifford Park, Goonellabah. Read more.

2015
Sep 20

2015

They again made the top 3 of the 14 team competition in 2015 and look to build upon their strong showing. The club is currently in its seventh season in the NRRRL competition and eagerly plays for its first premiership trophy!

2016
Sep 10

2016

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