CHRIS Plunkett has proven his value on the field once again with selection in the final Country Cockatoos squad to play three matches this month.
The Bathurst Bulldogs forward was named in a 23-man squad after his performance at a training camp in Sydney last weekend, earning his sixth appearance in a Cockatoos squad.
Fellow Bulldogs player Phil Tonkin was also present for the two-day trial at Hurlstone Agricultural High but could not join the prop in the team to take on NSW Suburban in just over a week’s time.
Plunkett says although the excitement of selection is not the same as it was the first time, he has developed a senior role there.
“It’s always good to bring back some of the experience from here to the club ... I’ve been there for a while now. It’s still great but it’s just another thing for me,” he said.
“I’ve always had that kind of role with my club. At the camp I was probably one of the older guys there. I wouldn’t say they were looking for answers but I was able to help out.
“I’m just happy to be selected at this level. It gives me a great gauge of where my rugby is at and lets me know that I’m not too old yet to keep on playing.”
Hayden Tidswell and Tom Joseph had gained a place at the weekend’s trials but couldn’t take to the field due to injuries.
Both received treatment from physios on the sidelines throughout, offering their support for their club mates despite being out of the running for a spot.
Tonkin was the only other fit Bulldogs player at the camp. In his first attempt at Cockatoos selection he fell one step short.
“I didn’t make it into the team the first time I went to one of these camps. I spoke to Phil afterwards and told him that his name’s in the mix now. Next year he’ll have a chance,” Plunkett said.
“It’s the same with Hayden Tidswell and Tom Joseph. If they keep playing the football that they have been then they’re going to be selected in the future.”
The clash against NSW Suburban takes place at Terrigal on May 17 before the team travels to Chatswood the following Saturday to take on the Australian under 20s squad.
The three-match series is rounded out at Singleton on May 31 against the Australian services team. Fixtures beyond those may be announced.
Dubbo has the strongest Central West presence in the Cockatoos team with Scott Burgess, Filiasone Patua and Peter Nau making the cut.
Parkes duo Dan Ryan and Amoni Vea round out the six Central West representatives.