TRY telling Corrimal hooker Tammy Fletcher City-Country doesn’t matter.
While years of disdain for the match at NRL level saw the traditional fixture wound up this year, Fletcher’s selection for the inaugural women’s City versus Country clash was the realisation of a rugby league dream.
“I honestly cried, I broke down in tears,” Fletcher said of her selection.
“It was something I’d personally worked hard for over the last five months knowing every game I was playing, every rep match I was in was working towards this.
“It was all my shot at this Country opportunity. I gave it my all and then I got the news I was in, and the starting nine [hooker] as well, it was every dream come true at once.”
It was a dream she didn’t dare hold when she began her career in the fledgling Illawarra women’s league six years ago.
She’s since worn the famous Red V of St George Illawarra and will run around in Country colours at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.
“I never thought any of these opportunities would come up for us in the Illawarra,” Fletcher said.
“My heart and soul was in playing club footy week in week out.
“I thought that would be as good as it got but in the last 12 months it’s come in leaps and bounds for women’s rugby league in the Illawarra.
“It’s coming just in time for me on the borderline of retirement but still getting that one last opportunity is great. I’m definitely ticking off a few boxes before the boots get hung up.”
Fletcher is one of eight Illawarra representatives in the Country line-up that will face a City side that boasts the likes of Jillaroos Allana Ferguson, Kate Mullaly and Nikia Davis-Welsh.
It’s a side that looks impressive on the sheet, but Fletcher said her side is well aware rep clashes aren’t won on paper.
“They’ve got some high profile names but at the end of the day it comes down to who’s got the biggest heart out there on the paddock,” Fletcher said.
“Our strengths are out wide so we’ve just got nail them up front a little bit and then give them some quality ball. We’re confident they’ll do the rest.”
With the women’s State of Origin clash looming in June, Fletcher said the match is also a chance to prove that Country talent is just as worthy or rep recognition as their City counterparts.
“There’s no doubt we’ve got some talent, particularly from the Illawarra, that should be playing at those higher levels so this is the perfect opportunity for them,” Fletcher said.
“I’ve got no doubt that we’ve got the talent to have those girls go on further and they can use this City-Country match as their stepping stone towards a NSW jersey and then further on to a Jillaroos jersey.”