Five Monaro Colts have been named in the NSW Country Rugby League Under 23’s squad to tour Papua New Guinea in October.
Cleve McGhie and Ryley Thomas were named in the squad for the second year running.
Meanwhile, Ron Leapai, Nukurua Ngere and Colt’s Captain Ryan McQueen were both named for the first time.
The squad was announced at Camden’s Kirkham Park after the completion of the CRL Men’s Under-23’s Country Championship Final between the Monaro Colts and Northern Rivers.
Country U23’s Coach Josh Cale believes his side possesses some of the most exciting young talent from across Regional NSW.
“It’s been a great Under-23’s Country Championships and I’m really excited by the talent that we’ve got at our disposal for the tour to Papua New Guinea,” said Cale.
“Travelling to a country where rugby league is the national sport will be an amazing experience and we know we’re going to face some tough opposition.
“It was great to see how the Country Under-23’s responded to the challenge of taking on Samoa and Scotland last season and it was amazing achievement to not only challenge those sides, but to claim a victory over the Scottish World Cup side in Ballina.
“The percentage of country players in the NRL is always growing and it’s a great pathway for these players.
“You never know – some of our players may be the same ones we see on the big stage in the future.”
2018 Men’s Under-23’s Country Representative Team
1. Ryan McQueen (Monaro / West Belconnen)
2. Jack Lyons (Riverina / Southcity)
3. Zac Johnson (North Coast / Nambucca Heads)
4. Ryley Thomas (West Belconnen / Monaro)
5. Michael Dwane (Northern Rivers / Ballina)
6. Sam Grant (Northern Rivers / Cudgen)
7. Sam Elwin (Riverina / Temora)
8. Caleb Ziebel (Northern Rivers / Cudgen)
9. Joe Besgrove (Northern Rivers / Murwillumbah)
10. Jack Kavanagh (Illawarra South Coast / Shellharbour)
11. Liam Cassidy (Illawarra South Coast / Collegians)
12. Cleveland McGhie (Monaro / Woden Valley)
13. Kyle Kennedy (Northern Rivers / Lismore Marists)
14. Ethan McKellar (Western / Orange)
15. Ron Leapai (Monaro / Woden Valley)
16. Zachary Masters (Riverina / Tumut)
17. Zac Greene (Illawarra South Coast / Western Suburbs)
18. Nuk Ngere (Monaro / Queanbeyan Kangaroos)
Coach: Josh Cale