Sharks prop Matt Prior will clash with club captain Paul Gallen when he turns out for Country in the final Country v City clash on Sunday in Mudgee.
A standout for the Sharks in their premiership winning team of 2016 and again through the first nine rounds of the current season, Prior’s selection is certainly justified, with the hard hitting prop now in a position to push for a State of Origin call with a strong display.
Prior joins a host of NRL talent that has been selected to represent the VB Country Origin.
The likes of Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Anthony Don and Connor Watson make their representative debuts, while Tariq Sims becomes the most-capped current Country player with six appearances.
Mitchell Aubusson, a Ballina Seagulls junior, will captain the side in his second consecutive VB Country Origin selection, following some strong form for the Roosters.
Two notable selections have come through the NSWRL Pathways system in recent times; Brian Kelly was a part of the victorious NSW Under-20 team which defeated Queensland for the fifth-straight time in 2016, while 18th man Daniel Alvaro played for the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Residents as they emerged victorious in the same season.
Dragons trio Euan Aitken, Paul Vaughan and Jack de Belin have been named as they join Prior in pressing for Origin debuts.
The VB Country Origin side is as follows:
1. Michael Gordon – Tweed Coast / Sydney Roosters
2. Anthony Don – Grafton Ghosts / Gold Coast Titans
3. Euan Aitken – Merimbula Pambula Bulldogs / St George Illawarra Dragons
4. Cheyse Blair – Bilambil Jets / Melbourne Storm
5. Brian Kelly – Ballina Seagulls / Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
6. Cody Walker – Casino Cougars / South Sydney Rabbitohs
7. Tyrone Roberts – Ballina Seagulls / West Newcastle / Gold Coast Titans
8. Dale Finucane – Bega Roosters / Melbourne Storm
9. Damien Cook – Helensburgh Tigers / South Sydney Rabbitohs
10. Paul Vaughan – Gungahlin Bulls / St George Illawarra Dragons
11. Mitch Aubusson © – Ballina Seagulls / Sydney Roosters
12. Kyle Turner – Coonabarabran Unicorns / South Sydney Rabbitohs
13. Jack De Belin – Cootamundra Bulldogs / St George Illawarra Dragons
14. Connor Watson – Kincumber Colts / Sydney Roosters
15. Matt Prior – Thirroul Butchers / Cronulla Sharks
16. Tariq Sims – Gerringong Lions / St George Illawarra Dragons
17. Adam Elliott – Tathra Sea Eagles / Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
18. Daniel Alvaro – Mittagong Lions / Parramatta Eels
Coach: Craig Fitzgibbon – Dapto Canaries