HIGH HONOURS: Players who made the NSW Country team, from left, Kyle Kennedy, Joe Besgrove, Michael Dwane and Sam Grant. Caleb Ziebell absent because of injury.
HIGH HONOURS: Players who made the NSW Country team, from left, Kyle Kennedy, Joe Besgrove, Michael Dwane and Sam Grant. Caleb Ziebell absent because of injury. Contributed

Five standouts selected for NSW Country's PNG tour

FIVE Northern Rivers players have been selected in the NSW Country representative team that will tour Papua New Guinea in October.

Front-rower Caleb Ziebell will be joined by hooker Joe Besgrove, winger Michael Dwane, lock Kyle Kennedy and five-eighth Sam Grant.

Ziebell has been knocking on the door of selection for a few years now while the other four forced their way into the team after a standout representative campaign.

The squad was announced at Camden's Kirkham Park after the completion of the CRL Men's Under-23's Country Championship final between Northern Rivers and the Monaro Colts.

Northern Rivers captain Anthony Colman has been unlucky to miss out for the past two years since the competition changed to the Under-23 format.

Halfback Tahne Robinson also could have been there but the 19-year-old will definitely be on the radar again next year.

The last players from the Northern Rivers to represent NSW Country where Zac Beecher, Jack Durheim and Guy Lanston in 2016.

NSW Country coach Josh Cale believes his side possesses some of the most exciting young talent from across Regional NSW.

"It's been a great Under-23's Country Championships and I'm really excited by the talent that we've got at our disposal for the tour to Papua New Guinea,” Cale said.

"Travelling to a country where rugby league is the national sport will be an amazing experience and we know we're going to face some tough opposition.

"It was great to see how the Country Under-23's responded to the challenge of taking on Samoa and Scotland last season and it was amazing achievement to not only challenge those sides, but to claim a victory over the Scottish World Cup side in Ballina.

"The percentage of country players in the NRL is always growing and it's a great pathway for these players.

"You never know - some of our players may be the same ones we see on the big stage in the future.”