COUNTRY CALLING: Ballina centre Rowan Mansfield will play for NSW Country in an NRL curtain-raiser on Friday.
COUNTRY CALLING: Ballina centre Rowan Mansfield will play for NSW Country in an NRL curtain-raiser on Friday. Amy Blanch

Country boys to play NRL curtain raiser at Penrith

THE NSW Country Under-16s will take on the NSW Rugby League Harold Matthews Under-16s representative team, as a curtain raiser to the Penrith Panthers and New Zealand Warriors NRL game at Penrith on Friday night.

Ballina centre Rowan Mansfield is part of the NSW Country team along with eight other players from Cudgen, Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah.

They are among the best regional talent from the CRL Andrew Johns Cup competition with a combined 15 players from finalists Northern Rivers Titans and Western Rams.

CRL Elite Pathways Football Manager Matt Parish says the match is an exciting occasion.

"It is great to see the 'city versus country' concept that was originally started in 1911 is still alive and it is a wonderful opportunity for our players to be a part of it,” Parish said.

"The match is also a fantastic opportunity for our representative players to test themselves against Metropolitan NSW's best junior representative players on stage at Penrith Stadium.

"Following Friday's match a NSW squad will be chosen to face an under-16s Pasifika team in June, so it would be pleasing to see some country representatives selected as a result of their performance.”

The game will be played at 4.10pm on Friday with a live stream via the CRL Facebook page.

Gates open at 3.55pm, with the NRL game kicking-off at 6pm.



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