NRL.com's Country Origin team
With coach Trent Barrett and the Country Origin selectors to name their side this Sunday to face City at Wagga Wagga's McDonalds Park on May 3, we at NRL.com have put our heads together to devise who we would select for the match. Here's the 17 we've come up with.
1. Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)
While his current groin complaint has him out of action for Manly, if Stewart wants to stake his claim for the New South Wales No.1 jumper it's important he plays in next week's clash – which would his first appearance for Country since 2007. If not, we predict Jack Wighton would move to fullback and Euan Aitken could make his representative debut in the centres.
2. Akuila Uate (Knights)
Former Kangaroo Uate has returned to form in 2015 for the Newcastle Knights and he's on track to make his third Country Origin start in Wagga Wagga.
3. Jarrod Croker (Raiders)
The Canberra captain has been a shock omission from the Country team so far in his career but surely 2015 is the year he'll make his debut considering he was 19th man for the Blues in State of Origin last season.
4. Jack Wighton (Raiders)
Could shift to fullback if Stewart is ruled out but Wighton is a guarantee in the Country team either way. Has impressed in the No.1 jumper for the Raiders in 2015 and will have no troubles returning to the centres. He did the exact same for Country last season while playing five-eighth at club level.
5. James McManus (Knights)
The incumbent NSW winger McManus should get a look-in over club teammate Sione Mata'utia who is currently playing in reserve grade at Newcastle.
6. James Maloney (Roosters)
Maloney is a shoo-in for Country selection but will need to put forward a big defensive effort if he is to push himself into the Blues' 17.
7. Jarrod Mullen (Knights)
A smokey to jag a New South Wales halves spot at some point throughout the series, Mullen should throw on a Country jumper for a fifth time.
8. Aiden Tolman (Bulldogs)
A dark horse for State of Origin, Tolman will be one of the first men picked by Trent Barrett considering the Bulldogs vice-captain's form. Tolman is no stranger to Country Origin either having played in the annual fixture three times previously.
9. Mitch Rein (Dragons)
With hooker one of the toughest positions to knuckle down at Country, Rein won out over veterans Michael Ennis, Kurt Gidley and Ryan Hinchcliffe in our team. It would be his second Country Origin appearance if selected.
10. Kade Snowden (Knights)
The Knights prop has been in representative obscurity since 2012 but considering his terrific form for the Knights, he'll surely earn a reprieve.
11. Boyd Cordner (Roosters)
If he doesn't play for Australia, Boyd Cordner will have no issues forcing his way into the Country Origin team for a second time.
12. Josh Jackson (Bulldogs)
An incumbent international player, Jackson will have trouble forcing his way back into the Australian Test side considering the return to fitness of several established Kangaroos stars. Instead, Gulgong's own Jackson is set to play in his third City v Country clash.
13. Shaun Fensom (Raiders)
SURELY! Surely it is time for Fensom to earn his stripes at City v Country level. A glaring omission from the annual clash for the past few seasons, Fensom went close last year (being named 18th man) and if we had our way he'd go one better this time around. Give Fenno a go!
14. Tyson Frizell (Dragons)
He won't have played in the two weeks leading into the clash in Wagga due to suspension but has been in great form for the Red V this season.
15. Trent Merrin (Dragons)
A 10-time New South Wales representative with all 10 appearances coming from the bench, what better way to reintroduce Merrin into rep footy then play him where he's settled in the representative scene?
16. Ryan James (Titans)
Since his appearance for the Indigenous All Stars, James's form dictates he'll earn his second Country appearance.
17. Tariq Sims (Knights)
A veteran in this fixture, Sims will benefit from the ankle injury to teammate and last year's Country captain Beau Scott to jag a spot in the team. If Scott is fit, he will probably play a part in the Australian squad in some capacity meaning Sims's place is almost guaranteed.
Unlucky men: Jack de Belin (Dragons), Jack Bird (Sharks), Sione Mata'utia (Knights), Glenn Stewart (Rabbitohs).