HUNTER Valley Group 21 Junior Rugby League's best young players will tackle their northern counterparts in the CRL Under-14 and Under-15 Country Championships at Port Macquarie this weekend.
More than 800 players are expected to take the fields - at the Regional Sports Stadium as well as Wagga Wagga's Paramore Park in the southern division - across Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22.
The winning sides will then take part in the CRL Under-14 and Under-15 Country Championship Finals, which will be played at Morry Breen Oval in Wyong on September 28.
The Group 21 under-14s, coached by Scott Pennell, is dominated by the Scone Thoroughbreds with 11 youngsters - Jacob Cordina, Braedon Hails, Riley Pennell, Aajay Watts, Callum Dowell, Talon Harrington, Brady Roser, Bryce Bateman, Josh Crowther, Mykola Trofymenko and Jayke Fletcher - in the squad.
Singleton Greyhounds quartet - Tully Wholert, Tyler Baldwin, Deacen Hampstead and Ethan Holland - and Muswellbrook Rams' Rylan Barndon, Jarrod Small, Cohen Watson and Matthew Lackenby round out the line-up.
The Group 21 under-15s, mentored by Peter Warden, boasts a strong Aberdeen Tigers' influence, with 10 lads - Mitchell Kemp, Lawson Enosa, Callum Goodwin, Matthew Jones, Benjamin Jones, Malik Hunt, Benjamin Halliwell, Joshua Halliwell, Mitchell Galvin and Jordan Sutton - gaining the selectors' approval.
Hunter Marsh is the lone Denman Devil.
Singleton trio Eli Foote, Corben Hampstead and Thomas Donahue also join Scone's Connor Newman, Fergus Hartmann, Tevita Holaafolau, Junuh Warden, Jake Clydsdale and Tom Dahmes in the talented side.
Country Rugby League (CRL) CEO Terry Quinn believes the championships are a great way to see the next generation of talent from regional NSW on display.
"The Under-14 and Under-15 CRL Country Championships are, for many, the first step in the representative rugby league pathway," he stated.
"It's a special tournament for the 800 participants involved across both days.
"Not only are these players representing their respective regions.
"But, they're also putting their hand up for selection in the Andrew Johns Cup and Laurie Daley Cup or SG Ball and Harold Matthews junior rep teams in 2020."
All players participating in this weekend's championships will be required to attend NRL Welfare and Education workshops covering messages on social responsibility, cyber bullying, social media, concussion and respect.
In excess of 60 games will be played, with matches kicking off at 9am at both venues on Saturday and Sunday.