Riley rewarded for great form with Cockatoos selection

19-03-2019 by admin

Parkes’ Riley Byrne is hoping to make the final 25-man NSW Country squad. sub

Parkes fullback Riley Byrne joins a seven strong Blue Bulls representation named in the initial NSW Country Cockatoos squad following Central West’s swashbuckling Richardson Shield campaign.

Riley played a starring role to help Central West to three straight wins at the NSW Country Championship and was named in the Cockatoos training squad alongside Orange Emus leading men Josh Ellice-Flint and Nick Hughes-Clapp, former Emus bookend John Ellis, Dubbo ‘Roos centre Filisione Pauta, Cowra back-rower Chris Miller, and Forbes half Mahe Fangupo.

Riley was happy to gain selection, but it came as a bit of a surprise.

“I never really expected it,” the star Boars fullback said.

“I was not looking for selection so it was a nice shock.

“I thought my form at the Country Championships was pretty good and that I may be in the running for a spot.

“But, my main focus, like the rest of the team, was to win the Richardson Shield and get back into the top tier competition.

“I have been playing OK for the Boars and that form continued for the Blue Bulls.

“I am now training hard to try and make the final 25 man squad,” he said.

Riley will join the rest of the NSW Country squad – which includes representatives from Illawarra, Newcastle-Hunter, Mid North Coast, New England, Central North and Mid North Coast – for a training camp in Sydney.

From that camp, selectors will cut the group down to form the final Cockatoos squad, which plays its first game against the Australian Under 20 side on Saturday, May 28.

NSW COUNTRY COCKATOOS: Nick Hughes-Clapp, Josh Ellice-Flint, Riley Byrne, John Ellis, Mahe Fangupo, Chris Miller, Filisione Pauta (Central West),Tyler Aitken, Anthony Allport, Niko Degei, Aaron Loudon, Alyd Owen, Rhys Peters, Nik Rangiuira, Paul Tuala, Alex Wilson (Illawarra), Joe Akkersdyk, Sireli Bainvalu, Ben Christensen, Mitchell Howell, Jason Keelan, Steve Lamont, Rapine Mason, Alain Miriallakis, Faava Sila, Phil Bradford (Newcastle-Hunter), Oliver Bartlett, Charles French (New England), Ben Damen, Jerry Faifaise, Robert Richardson, Harry Veitch (Far North Coast), Sioni Halanukonuka, Simon Newton (Central North), Adam McCormack (Mid North Coast).

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