True Blue Craig Wing is someone who knows the value of the Country-City representative round weekend, which will be live streamed in full on NSWRL TV this Saturday and Sunday.
All eight games at three venues – two in Sydney and one on the NSW Central Coast – will be available to fans as the annual battle is held for the CABE Men’s Open Age, CABE Under 18s and Under 16s, the Harvey Norman Women’s Open Age, the NSW Police Men and Women, and the Wheelchair Rugby League and Physical Disability Rugby League teams.
The Under 18s and Women’s Open Age Country-City games will form part of the selection process for respective NSW coaches Andrew Ryan and Kylie Hilder as they formulate their 2022 Origin teams.
“It was a big thing for me City-Country,” Wing told nswrl.com.au this week.
“There’s that great mix of the young up-and-comers playing alongside those with a little more experience.
“I was in both situations. In 2009 I hadn’t played Origin for a couple of years – but I had a great City-Country game and I was back in Origin.”
Wing was one of the True Blues that joined Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler and Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder in training sessions for the Under 16s, Under 18s and Women’s Open Age Country-City teams this week at NSWRL’s Ignite HQ Centre of Excellence.
“I’ve watched the women come along the last five years and it blows my mind the skill level they now have,” Wing said.
“They are such determined players. I’m very proud of how far our women have come.
“For many players across all the teams this week, it’s the first opportunity to be in a rep environment - which is vastly different to a team environment - in that you’ve only got a week to show leadership, to form a bond, to form combinations.
“So, the take-home points for me was to tell everyone that rep teams are all about communication, which was something I was weak on in the early part of my career.
“It’s getting to know your teammates, know their names and nicknames so you’re comfortable calling them from day one on the field.
“It’s huge because communication is the only way players, who normally play against each other, can get to really know each other.”
COUNTRY V CITY
Saturday 14 May
CABE Under-16s Country v City, at 4 Pines Park, Brookvale, 10.30am
CABE Under-18s Country v City at 4 Pines Park, 12.10pm
Harvey Norman Open Women’s Country v City, at 4 Pines Park, 2.00pm
Wheelchair Country v City at Niagara Park Stadium, near Ourimbah, 4pm
Sunday 15 May
Physical Disability Country v City at Leichhardt Oval, 9.45am
NSW Police Women’s Country v City, Leichhardt Oval, 11am
NSW Police Men’s, Leichhardt Oval, 12.25pm
CABE Open Men’s Country v City, 2.00pm