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City v Country Boys: Passion, pride and plenty of talent

Passion, pride and plenty of talent will be on display when the Queensland Under 17 City and Country boys clash at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday.

The game – the second of the four-game program – will see the best under 17 talent from across the state come together for bragging rights.

City proved too strong for Country last year, winning 52-20, and talented hooker Blake Mozer, who was part of Queensland’s Under 19 side this year, took out player of the match honours.

Country coach and former Queensland Maroons forward Antonio Kaufusi is determined to change the narrative this year.

“We grabbed players from everywhere over the state,” Kaufusi said.

The 2022 Country side. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
The 2022 Country side. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

“Being Country, that’s something we all have in common. I grew up in Wide Bay and we used to travel a fair bit. So I have told the boys about my experiences. I am passionate about where I’m from. For me, that’s what I’ll be using to drive the boys and give them extra motivation to get out there and rip into them.”

Kaufusi said the Country coaching staff, which includes Matt Ballin, were there to “make sure they prepare the best they can”.

“And support them, give them confidence,” Kaufusi said.

“The boys can play footy… that’s why they’re here. First and foremost, it’s about enjoying the week.

“They’re representing their families and it’s up to them to go out and put on a good performance.”

City coach and former Brisbane Broncos star David Stagg, who was a City mentor last year, said he was excited to see the best under 17 talent on show come Saturday, including many players who featured in the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup competition this year.

“When I was asked to take the role, obviously I was very excited by the opportunity, to be working with the best 34-36 under 17 players who are eligible for Queensland and the Origin arena,” Stagg said.

The 2022 City side. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
The 2022 City side. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

“My goal is to hopefully instil, or hope they gain, one thing out of the week. Whether that’s on the field, whether that’s off the field, and just understanding what the Origin legacy and the importance of it in the rugby league community.

“I know the Country boys consider themselves as the little brother… there’s that mentality there. I think the week is all about enjoying the challenge, enjoying getting better as a footballer, and at the end of the day, yes, we come and we get to play a game of footy.

“Come game day there will be the game day face and that mentality, while they’ve been mates throughout the week, they’re opposition come Saturday.”

The game will be live on

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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