Few get the chance to pull on the famed green and white Western Division jumper.
Even fewer get the opportunity to do so against an international opponent.
So when Orange CYMS five-eighth Dom Maley earned a call-up for the Rams’ clash with the Federation of Italia Rugby League Australia side at Carrington Park, the gun pivot jumped at the chance.
“There’s plenty of history surrounding the Western jumper, so the chance to pull it on will be a privilege,” Maley said.
“It’s never something you can consider knocking back.”
It’s a sentiment, no doubt, Rams coach Darren Jackson is thrilled to inject into this outfit.
Jackson has long been an advocate for returning Western Division to the heights of the early 2000s, where the side won the country championship in 2003.
After two winless championship campaigns, Jackson is using Saturday’s clash with FIRLA as a chance to kick-start the Rams’ 2017 campaign.
And players like Maley fit the bill perfectly.
“They’re representing the region and it’s not just for one game,” Jackson said definatly.
It’s never something you can consider knocking back.Dom Maley on Western Division selection.
“I know when I was playing they didn’t just give jerseys out, they had to be earned, and this is a good opportunity for those who want to play more for the Rams in the future that they deserve to be there.”
Saturday’s clash with the Azzurri will be Maley’s first Rams rep jumper.
The classy No.6 was in world-beating form for CYMS at the backend of 2016, and, alongside Nyngan half Jacob Neill, is a deserved selection in Jackson’s side.
“I didn’t know this game was being played, to be honest. I thought the grand final would be it,” Maley said.
“We’ve had a training run and met everyone, and Darren, then and it’s been great. Darren’s really engrain that culture into the side.
“We know it’s an exhibition game, but with the Italian boys playing for spots in their World Cup squad and Darren making it pretty clear good performances will put our names up for selection next year, there’s plenty on the line.”
Jackson was confident the Italian side, one minus a stack of its regular talent as it prepares to fly out for Serbia on Sunday morning, will be more than competitive.
“Being a trial match and with them flying out for their World Cup qualifying campaign the next day I think they’ll be giving it everything they can,” he said.
“I think there’s guys pushing for a spot in the Italian team so we’ll be expecting a tough contest and for them to come out at 100 miles an hour.
“I expect they’ll be strong all across the park. There’s Queensland, NSW and Ron Massey Cup players who will be very well drilled. But if we do the little things right then we should do well.”
He said the extension of the season was a positive one for the Western Rams division.
“Usually the footy season is over by now so it’s good to be able to buy a few extra weeks. We’ve got a few new faces in the team this year, which is really exciting to see,” he said.
“I think from our group around 13 of them are new. We’ve got a few Castlereagh Cup players in there too. For the guys who are on the fringe this is a great chance for them.”
Kick-off times for Saturday’s games are as follows:
Under 16s Group 10 v F.I.R.L.A Bs (11.30am)
Under 16s Western Rams v F.I.R.L.A (12.40pm)
Under 21s Western Rams v F.I.R.L.A (2.00pm)
1st grade Western Rams v F.I.R.L.A (3.50pm)