Damen, Krause get the nod for NSW Cockatoos
TWO Far North Coast players have been included in the NSW Country Cockatoos rugby union squad.
They are Wollongbar- Alstonville five-eighth Ben Damen and Southern Cross University winger Mitchell Krause, who switched from rugby league only this year.
Damen has been a regular for NSW Country in recent years.
The squad was selected following the NSW Country Championships at Port Macquarie last weekend, when Far North Coast reached the final of the second-tier Richardson Shield.
Top-tier Caldwell Cup finalists Illawarra and Newcastle Hunter have the most players named, with the rest coming from the other seven Country zones.
Cockatoos coach Mat Thomas said the nature of Country rugby would always mean changes from one year to another, and the only way to select the squad was on the form displayed at the Country Championships.
The Cockatoos will have a short but solid program when they play their traditional games against NSW Suburban at Camden on June 4, Brumbies Provincial in Canberra on June 17 and Queensland Country in Newcastle on July 1.
Meanwhile, six Far North Coast players have been selected in the NSW Country Cockatoos Colts squad.
They are Rory Collings, Austin Markwart and Hamish Mould (all Wollongbar- Alstonville), Jonathon Huddy and Riley Wilson (both Lennox Head) and Tom Watson (Ballina).
The entire squad will make their debuts in senior representative ranks following the change of age from Under-20s to Under-19s.
The Cockatoos Colts will play the Junior Waratahs and NSW Under-19s at Camden on June 4 and Queensland Country in Newcastle on July 1.