Casino player thought state selection might been a hoax

IT WAS only by going on Facebook that Casino centre Todd Johnson discovered he had been picked in the NSW Country Rugby League team.

Johnson and four other Northern Rivers players were selected off the back of their performances at the NSW CRL Championships.

Northern Rivers made it to the semi-finals before the country teams were announced after the finals in Wyong on Saturday.

Andrew Battese, Brett Kelly, Dylan Montgomery and Hemi Mullen will be part of the country second team that will take on Queensland Country at Rockhampton next month.

"I first saw it on Facebook to be honest," Johnson said.

"I had to ask around to see if it was fair dinkum or not.

"It's unreal to be picked and I definitely didn't expect it."

The five players will be the first from the Northern Rivers to wear a NSW Country jersey since Clarence Kelly in 2009.

Montgomery represented Country in 2006 before playing in Sydney and eventually moving back to Ballina midway through last year.

Johnson, 24, only got his first taste of representative rugby league with Northern Rivers last year.

Playing in the second tier part of the Country Championships also helped the Northern Rivers players get more game time in front of selectors.

"I got named in the (NRRRL) team of the year in 2012 and got picked in the rep team after that," Johnson said.

"I think Troy (Casino coach Troy McLean) had a lot to with it so I'm really thankful to him."

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