Local under-9s Dungog Warriors dummy-half Charlotte Baker has been selected along with her teammates to represent NSW in the inaugural Holden Junior State of Origin in Sydney on 1 June.
The under-9s team will take on the Clermont Bears from QLD in a curtain-raiser clash to Game I of the 2016 Holden State of Origin at ANZ Stadium.
For eight-year-old Charlotte, the trip is a dream come true.
“I love playing footy at Dungog with my friends, but I never thought I’d be playing in Sydney in front of a big crowd and get to meet some of Australia’s best players,” Charlotte said.
As well as playing in the Junior State of Origin, Charlotte will toss the coin for the Blues v Maroons game and together with her team, will form a guard of honour for the NRL players.
NSW skipper Paul Gallen announced the exciting news to the club via video message.
“I hope you guys will knuckle down and train hard and do the Blues proud,” Gallen said.
The news has united the small Hunter town of Dungog which was declared a natural disaster area after flash flooding this time last year.
Holden’s Executive Director Marketing, Geraldine Davys said Holden was thrilled to make this opportunity possible for the club.
“The Dungog Warriors Junior Rugby League Club came to our attention when it applied for a Holden Home Ground Advantage grant to replace damaged uniforms and equipment following the floods,” Geraldine said.
“We’re thrilled to be playing a small part in the town’s recovery and to providing this unique Junior State of Origin experience for some of Dungog’s footy-mad kids,” she added.
Holden recently awarded the club a $10,000 Home Ground Advantage grant to purchase much-needed jerseys along with new safety equipment and upgraded storage facilities.
Charlotte’s uncle and under-9s team coach Roy Watkins said the kids were beside themselves with excitement.
“I’m not sure who was more excited when we heard the news, me or the kids!” Roy said.
“We can’t wait to take on the Clermont Bears – we’re stepping up our training with and we expect to put on a show in Sydney,” he added.