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Teams representing Malta, Latin America, the Mediterranean, Africa, Fiji, Lebanon, the Cook Islands, Australian Indigenous communities and myriad other cultures and backgrounds will lace up the boots and run out for the eighth annual under-16s Harmony Cup, held this Saturday, October 10 at St Marys and The Kingsway – and, in an event first, a women’s nines competition will take place too.

The Harmony Cup, a celebration of cultural diversity which also operates as a development pathway, is a platform for non-elite players to showcase their skills and build healthy relationships through rugby league. Graduates from past Harmony Cups include Roosters forward Kane Evans and Sea Eagles-bound hooker Apisai Koroisau.

NSWRL CEO David Trodden said the event, run by the NSWRL in conjunction with the NRL, brought out the best in rugby league.

“It’s a huge honour to be hosting and running an event like the Harmony Cup with the NRL,” Trodden said.

“The competition is all about community and cultural diversity – and it’s just another reason why rugby league is the greatest game of all.

“I encourage everyone to get to St Marys and The Kingsway this Saturday for the Harmony Cup – it’ll be a great day out.”

For the first time in the history of the Harmony Cup a women’s nines tournament will take place. The open-age eight-team competition will see a side from Victoria face up to the likes of Lebanon, Cook Islands, Samoa and NSW Maori.

The 20-team under-16s Harmony Cup tournament will conclude with the naming of an Indigenous merit side and a David Bayssari-coached Harmony Cup All Stars merit side, to play on 17 October at Campbelltown Stadium as a curtain raiser before the Tonga-Cook Islands Test match.

NRL Head of Community Adam Check said the Harmony Cup was a great reflection of the positive impact rugby league has on the wider community.

“The Harmony Cup highlights all that is great about rugby league,” Check said.

“The tournament celebrates diversity, social inclusion and team work.

“It’s also a showcase of the immense talent and growth of our game at the grass-roots level, particularly in ethnic communities and among females.”

The Harmony Cup will feature a range of family-friendly activities and attractions including cultural performances, face painting, a jumping castle, a DJ and more.

The NSWRL and NRL would like to thank Penrith City Council for its support of the 2015 Harmony Cup.