Best mates buoyed by Country berths
Raiders props and best mates Paul Vaughan and Shannon Boyd are set to thrive for Country Origin this weekend when they combine on the representative stage for the first time.
Vaughan has played for Country over the past two seasons while Boyd will make his first grade representative debut this weekend after he was 18th man for Country last year.
Country coach Craig Fitzgibbon is also set to utilise their Canberra partnership by having Boyd start and Vaughan coming on from the bench – which they have done to great affect at times in the NRL this year.
"I'm pretty stoked. It's great to have him in camp and it's even better to be able to play alongside him this time around," Vaughan told NRL.com.
"We obviously have a very good combination going on down there in Canberra and he always starts well so I'm happy to come off the bench. Just as long as I'm involved, I'm not too fussed.
"We work together well either way and it's just great we can play together for higher honours and push for bigger things."
Boyd was thrilled to finally make his debut and is hoping to turn his experiences as 18th man last year into a barnstorming performance at Tamworth's Scully Park.
"18th man last year was a good experience but to be able to have a bit of a run about this time around should be good," the 23-year-old said.
"I definitely have a good idea of what I had to do and what it's like to be in these representative camps so it was pretty exciting to be picked this year."
The Cowra Magpies junior isn't in Tamworth to make up the numbers and is hoping to push his claims for a New South Wales Origin berth down the line.
"It's something you're always looking to do. It's tough to get in there but if I can keep playing good footy then hopefully one day I'll get to start," Boyd said.
"When you look around at this [Country] team alone though you realise there's a long way to go and I have a lot of people to try and beat in the meanwhile.
"I'm here to rip in and try my hardest. It's good to see that people did make their Origin debuts after playing this game last year. It's exciting and hopefully it can happen to us one day."
This article first appeared on NRL.com