Dean Ritchie - The Daily Telegraph 

They're the dirty dozen ready to put the bush into a Suncorp Stadium ambush. 

Twelve of the Blue's extended 20-man squad hail from the country with 10 making the starting squad. 

They've killed off City-Country, but they can't kill off the rugby league passion in the country. NSW players hail from all around our great state. 

Skipper Boyd Cordner comes from Old Bar, a coastal town 16km east of Taree, while Josh Jackson is from Gulgong, an old gold rush town in the Central Tablelands. Big Andrew Fifita played his early days in Griffith, a Riverina regional town, while Blake Ferguson is from Wellington, near Dubbo. 

"There are lots of country boys in this team, there is a make-up of different people from different areas around the state," said NSW coach Laurie Daley, a proud Junee product. "Country football is the lifeblood of our game and they have always produced plenty of great players. The current players just add to that great history."

Tyson Frizell, Jack Bird and Brett Morris are from the NSW South Coast, and James Maloney from the Central Coast. "It's pretty cool. Those small country towns, they pretty much revolve around rugby league," said Morris. "You would play in the morning most times as a kid and then stay at the ground hours later until first grade was played. My older brother, Scott, coaches reserve grade (at junior side, Kiama Knights) and I've got a couple of little brothers, Matt and Dylan, who play there as well. I get down there when I can to support them."

Frizell added: "This is a great recognition for the country boys. That will give hope to the young country players coming through. It gives those kids hope that they can make it. Some of the boys have done it tough out in the country." 

Centre Josh Dugan is a Tuggeranong junior while James Tadesco - despite having represented City - comes from Camden and cleared up any confusion about his allegiances. "I'm country" he said. 

Extra squad member Jordan McLean is a Young product while Dragon Jack de Belin is a proud Cootamundra boy. 

"NSW Origin is about the entire state of NSW, not just Country, not just City, but in saying that, we are extremely pleased at this representation," said Country Rugby League operations manager Bert Lowrie, who is also the NSW assistant and team manager. "I think it shows and underlines the importance of why we have to preserve regional football. The games means so much to people in regional areas. In regional areas, you'll quite often find the footy club is the focus of town, the centre point."




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