NRL Experience Benefits Country Under-23’s

Updated: October 11, 2018

Former Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs players Josh Cale, Andrew Ryan and Adam Perry form part of the Country Under-23’s staff and are excited to be involved with the development of some of Country NSW’s best up and coming players.

Former Bulldogs Captain, State of Origin and Australian Rugby League player, Ryan has returned for his second year on the Under-23’s tour and is thrilled to be back with the team as they prepare for their game against the Papua New Guinea Digicell Cup Representative Team.

“It’s the best; my Country experiences have been my favourite of my whole career at all levels,” Ryan said.

“It’s my favourite time of the year, everyone has a laugh at times but when it’s time to train they rip in and do that, but they also enjoy the experience as well.

“All the boys are gelling really quickly and I’m looking forward to seeing them play; they’ve trained really well and hopefully it comes together on the field.”

Perry, who is now an NRL Game Development Manager in the South West Region of NSW, enjoyed a stellar career that included nine seasons and a premiership with the Bulldogs and believes the Under-23’s age group is one that is ripe for development, as the players already have the skills to succeed.

“I love helping out and coaching at this level,” Perry said.

“All the players are keen and they’re at a really good age, still young enough to learn a bit but old enough to have that toughness and footy ability, so I think it’s a really good age group to be involved with.”

Perry experienced playing in Papua New Guinea and believes the current crop of Under-23’s should take advantage of the exposure this will bring and relish the opportunity.

“The same as last year, it’s another opportunity for these guys to put themselves out there and actually get themselves in front of NRL clubs; it’s a great opportunity for them to maybe get a chance to take that next step,” Perry said.

“I got to experience it as a player when I was in High School and that was a real eye-opener.

“I think the boys should really look forward to, not only the cultural experience, but the difference in the footy over there.”

St Johns Dubbo product, Ryan admitted he never got the opportunity to play in Papua New Guinea during his career but is excited to be travelling there with a Rugby League team for the first time.

“I’ve been there for the Kokoda trail but I’m looking forward to getting over there, being in team environment and understanding the passion of the Kumuls,” Ryan said.

Perry is pleased to be part of the Under-23’s tour and says he is delighted to be back in a team environment again, something he has missed since retiring in 2007.

“It’s probably the thing I miss the most about having to retire from being a full-time player,” Perry said.

“I love playing the game, not so much the training, but actually hanging out with that group of blokes and being involved with the team, it’s so good to be able to do that again.”

Ryan and Perry were both part of the Bulldogs 2004 premiership-winning team and played alongside Country Coach Josh Cale at Canterbury as well; with Ryan admitting it is great to see how passionate his old team mates are about Country Rugby League.

“He’s unreal, we’ve known each other for a long time now and he just loves it, he’s really passionate about his country footy…not sure if he’s all that happy having me as his roomie again but it’s good to see him again,” Ryan said.

“We’ve known Josh for a while as well, he’s a Narromine boy originally and he was at Canterbury as well when Nugget (Perry) and myself were there so it’s a bit of reunion in that sense.”

Perry also acknowledged a sense of comradery on tour and how great it is to be able to reminisce on the days the trio spent at Canterbury.

“We generally dig up a few old stories and tease each other about past training sessions but it’s good to catch up with the boys; we were good mates when we were playing and nothing has changed,” Perry said.

The Country Under-23’s will take on the Papua New Guinea Digicell Cup Representative Team at Oil Search National Football Stadium, Port Moresby on Sunday, 14th October, with the match kicking-off at 3:00pm (AEDT- Australian Eastern Daylight Time).