Bulldogs second-rower Josh Jackson believes the annual City/Country Origin match plays a vital role in the National Rugby League and has a huge effect on the people who live in the country.
The match has been a part of the rugby league calendar since the first recorded City V Country clash in 1911. From 1987 the game was played under Origin selection rules.
This year will be the final match of the annual fixture and Jackson admitted he is ‘disappointed’ the match has been discontinued.
“It’s an important game and I’m really disappointed they’re getting rid of the whole fixture because it does mean a lot to people in the bush and it’s also a good opportunity for people that are in the NRL from the country, to represent the places that they’re from and their people and the families,” stated Jackson.
Jackson understands the match provides a good opportunity for young players coming through to play at a representative level.
“It’s also a good opportunity for young players coming through, to get a crack at representative footy because I know when I got my first jersey, I was extremely proud and honoured. You get a lot of confidence as a young guy coming through the ranks to play with players that you normally wouldn’t get to play with. Hopefully the NRL can have a look at it and maybe take some normal round games out to the bush for those country people,” added Jackson.
The back rower respects his club’s decision with the NSWRL and both Brad Fittler and Craig Fitzgibbon having agreed not to select any Bulldogs players in the City vs Country fixture on Sunday 7th May, due to the short four day turnaround leading into the Bulldogs v Cowboys game the following Thursday (11th May).
“It’s obviously disappointing, I’d love to play for country. I always do. It’s a great week to be a part of, but with the short turn around it’s always going to be hard. The club has spoken to us about it and obviously, I have to respect that decision. Des came to us last week and just explained that it’s the four-day turn around and that he wants the Bulldogs to be a priority,” said Jackson.
Josh Jackson has been named in Des Hasler’s starting line-up for Saturday afternoon’s clash with the Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium.