James Luff will finally get his chance to represent NSW Country after the talented hooker was selected in the side that will take on NSW City at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday, May 15.
Luff, who was selected in 2021, injured his ankle against the Temora Dragons in round two of 2021 Group 9 season, ruling him out of the representative fixture and for a good chunk of the season.
After guiding the Riverina Bulls as captain/coach in 2022, Luff was again selected, and he was thrilled to be given another opportunity to represent the best of country NSW.
“Especially on the back of last year, to get picked again was great,” Luff said.
“Hopefully I get through the game against Tumut on Sunday and can play.”
Luff, a two-time Weissel medallists, who also played SG Ball for Wests Magpies and under 20s and NSW Cup for the Wests Tigers, said gaining NSW Country selection was the highlight of his storied country rugby league career.
“I definitely think playing for country is the epitome for anyone playing bush footy,” Luff said.
“It has always been a goal of mine, and it’s the highest level you can achieve.
“To finally get that opportunity. I will be pretty proud and it will be good to represent Gundagai, and for me, It will be a big moment and the highlight of my rugby league career.”
Luff will go into camp on Thursday in Saint Marys, with the NSW Country side training and preparing under the guidance of coach and former NRL and Canberra Raiders star, Terry Campese, before taking on City on the Sunday.
Luff said he would like to help Country enact some revenge on City, who proved too good for Country when winning in 2021, but he expected a tough outing when coming up against some very talented players.
“Country got a bit of a touch up last year, and City will be a good side,” Luff said.
“I’m not familiar with their players, but being the best players in the Ron Massey Cup, I’m looking forward to playing with the best players in the country and taking on City.”
Before turning out for NSW Country next weekend, the 28-year-old will play for the Gundagai Tigers on Sunday, when taking on the Tumut Blues at Twickenham, and he was just hoping to get through unscathed and help his Tigers to a win.
“Honestly, injuring myself last year and being picked for Country is in the back of my mind but I have to get over it and play my natural game and hopefully get through it,” Luff said.
“It always a big game against Tumut and I am looking forward to it.
“They have a different roster this year, and we had a good hit out in round one, and if we can put in a similar performance on Sunday, we will be very hard to beat.”