Wagga Wagga and Ballina will host festivals of football in October, when the Country U23’s Representative team take on Samoa and Scotland in warm-up matches before the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Nine of the 20 players selected in the Country U23’s Representative team ply their trade in the Austbrokers Canberra CRC and have the opportunity to take on a Toa Samoa side boasting the likes of Canberra Raiders stars, Joey Leilua, Junior Paulo and Josh Papalli.
The brightest young talent in Country Rugby League will have the opportunity to impress against some of the world’s best players, with the Toa Samoa headed to Wagga Wagga’s McDonalds Park and the Scotland Bravehearts taking on the Country side at Ballina’s Kingsford Smith Park.
Both venues will host a range of exciting matches in the lead up to the main games; with Wagga hosting an Open-Age Men’s Group 9 v Group 20 Indigenous match, Women’s tackle nines match between Riverina and Western and U17’s clash between Riverina and Monaro.
Some of the best rugby league talent on the North Coast will be on show in Ballina with Group 2 Ladies League Tag Premiers Coffs Harbour taking on NRRRL Premiers Byron Bay and Group 1 and Group 18 going head-to-head in an U16’s trial for the Northern Rivers Country Championship side.
CRL Operations Manager Bert Lowrie believes the matches present a great opportunity for regional Rugby League fans to see a range of talent from grassroots through to elite level international players.
“It’s an exciting time of year with the NRL Grand Final and Rugby League World Cup coming up and the matches in Wagga Wagga and Ballina are a great opportunity for regional fans to see players at various stages of the Rugby League pathways,” said Lowrie.
“Some of the best male and female talent from the North Coast and Riverina will be on show and this will be followed by some of the best young players in Country NSW taking on some of the best players from around the world.
“It’s a unique opportunity and we‘d love to see people heading out to support these games in two strong Rugby League regions.”
Tickets will be $10 for adults, $5 for concession, with Under-15’s free of charge. Tickets available at the gate on game day.
Country U23’s v Samoa – McDonalds Park Wagga Wagga, Friday 13th October
3:00pm – Monaro V Riverina (U17’s)
4:15pm – Riverina V Western (Women’s Nines)
5:00pm – Indigenous Group 9 V Indigenous Group 20 (Open-Age Men’s)
7:00pm – Country U23’s v Toa Samoa
Country U23’s v Scotland – Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, Friday 20th October
4:30pm – Coffs Harbour v Byron Bay (Ladies League Tag)
5:30pm – Group 1 v Group 18 (U16’s)
7:00pm – Country U23’s v Scotland Bravehearts
Article first appeared on Country Rugby League – https://crlnsw.com.au/wagga-and-ballina-to-host-festivals-of-football-for-country-u23s/