Injuries again erode at the credibility of the one-off representative clash.
City coach Brad Fittler believes there is still a place in the NRL for the annual City-Country clash despite a slew of injuries on the eve of training camps for both sides.
The concept’s credibility has taken plenty of hits in recent years, with players often being ruled out by their club medical staff after learning they have been selected, only to see them run out in club colours.
Again this year’s clash has been dogged by mass withdrawals with Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce a pre-selection unavailability, with five other players also withdrawing from the City side.
In the past officials claim the game is a genuine trial in order for some players to earn their place in the NSW Origin side to face Queensland.
However, this has often not been the case with the current NSW coach often having their preferred 17 lined up and ready to take on Queensland.
This year’s Country-City series has now seen Wests Tigers’ James Tedesco called into the side, along with teammate Curtis Sironen.
While the talent both have shown over their short NRL careers is clear to see, for them to be thrown into a game that is considered to be an trial for the NSW side could be considered premature.
However, Fittler said he is ignoring any criticism saying the elevation of the Tigers’ duo reminds him of himself when he was called into the City side as an 18-year-old.
“They’ve played six games, there’s a fair chance most of them are going to be sore somewhere,” Fittler said.
“It’s a case of if they really wanted to be here and it suits them to be here, they’d be here.”
Tedesco has been called in to cover the fullback position left open by Jarryd Hayne while the withdrawal of Wests’ trio Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods and Chris Lawrence has open the door for Nathan Peats, Adam Cuthbertson and Joel Reddy respectively.