The Queanbeyan Kangaroos travelled to West Wyalong on Friday, February 26 in order to compete in the 45th instalment of the Mallee Men's Knockout Challenge.
The West Wyalong Knockout Challenge has been a part of the region's pre-season football preparation since the early 1970s, and in its modern form plays host to 16 southern NSW clubs. Knockout coordinator Peter Campbell has been involved with the challenge for decades, and attributed much of the success enjoyed by clubs during the regular season to the fitness gained through participating in the challenge.
"It's very fast, furious, and it's a testament to the players and their fitness," Campbell said.
"A lot of teams start training for the challenge before Christmas and they get the jump on the rest of the teams in their local competition because they're fit," he said.
"The winners go on to either win their local competition or feature in the semi finals... That sort of stuff happens all of the time and it's generally because the sides have started training early and they have gotten themselves fitter than their counterparts in their competitions. It's a real good pre-season hit-out for a lot of clubs."
In the first round of the 2016 challenge, a youthful Queanbeyan Kangaroos outfit held off the offensive advances of Wagga's South City Bulls, winning the game 12 to 8. However, it was in round two Queanbeyan faced off against the Forbes Magpies of Group 11, who knocked the Kangaroos out by a margin of two points.
Forbes advanced to the semi-finals where they made an exit from the competition in extra time at the hands of Group 9's Gundagai, who eventually went on to win the entire challenge following their eight-point victory over Wagga in the grand final.