Is a rep footy shake-up on the cards? CRL look ahead

WRAPPED UP: Mudgee's Jack Afamasaga is man handled by CYMS forwards Larsen Marabe and Simon Osborne in the September grand final, won by the Dragons. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

WRAPPED UP: Mudgee's Jack Afamasaga is man handled by CYMS forwards Larsen Marabe and Simon Osborne in the September grand final, won by the Dragons. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

THE Country Rugby League is planning a full review of representative football when the board meets in Sydney on November 11.

The relevance of the Country Firsts tour to Samoa was brought into question after the team returned from the Pacific Islands undefeated.

The CRL has previously backed its representative schedule, at all levels, stating all tours undertaken by country teams are designed to give “developing rugby league areas … the opportunity to play against quality opposition” after the NSW Country under 18s dismantled two sides on a tour to Western Australia in July.

The CRL’s junior pathway systems leading to under 16s and under 18s selection has been successful in landing many of the region’s best young players NRL deals.

To name a few, Blayney’s Lachie Farr and Forbes’ Mitch Andrews both secured contracts with the Newcastle Knights having shined throughout the country championships with Western.

But a media reports last week confirmed senior players withdrew from the NSW Country First side’s tour of Samoa, questioning the relevance of the NSW Country jumper.

While players only from Newcastle, Illawarra, Central Coast and Canberra competitions are often selected in the firsts side.

At a championship level, Newcastle won last year's tier one title 23-12 over Illawarra, while the tier two final between Greater Southern Stars and Riverina was washed out. Ladies league tag’s inaugural crown was won by East Coast Dolphins, 8-7 over Central Coast.

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