News / Sport / 18th February 2021
Coona Connections Unite
There was more than just pride at stake for the Coonabarabran team that entered the Border Knockout on the weekend.
The rugby league team dubbed The Coona Connection was put together as a memorial side to honour three family members who recently passed away.
They were Lorraine McAlpine, Michelle Watton and Roman Kershaw.
Fittingly, the three names were added to the team’s jerseys and training shirts.
Emotional captain coach, Daniel Evans, said the weekend was a touching tribute to the beloved family members.
“Especially in the first game we played - there were a few tears shed,” he said.
“There was a heartfelt minute silence before the game, it was really special.”
The team was made up of Coonabarabran residents and others with strong ties to the town. Evans said the name of the team was fitting to the atmosphere at the carnival, played in Goondiwindi.
“It really was like a family meeting,” he said.
“It was like a family coming together around a camp fire.
“That’s the feeling we all took from it, everyone really bonded through it.”
Despite some of the team not having played for 10 to 15 years, the side did remarkably well to finish in third place out of 10.
Coona Connection, which also included former star NRL player Kyle Turner, lost the first game but made up for it with an enthusiastic second round win.
The victory saw them go into the repechage final, at which their opponents forfeited.
“It was a really hard competition with some tough games,” Evans said.
“None of us had really played together for years and we were playing teams that play together in their local competition.” “We were a little rusty in our first game, but we really started to gel in our second game.”
So inspired by the efforts of the squad, Evans said he would be looking to keep the same team to represent Coonabarabran in the future.