Senior Group 10 and Group 11 sides will go head-to-head next year in the annual Western Rams representative cluster.
The region’s showpiece fixture was dumped in 2017 as both western groups formed under 23s sides to line-up with the Country Rugby League’s decision to hold an under 23s country championship.
Group 10 and Group 11 under 23s sides will still clash next year as Western looks to form a competitive Rams side to contest the country championship, but the day will round out with an open fixture as well in 2018.
That will enable the best players in both competitions to go head-to-head.
Heading into 2018, it will mean the likes of St Pat’s recruits Zac Merritt, Sam Dwyer and Brendon Tago, along with Tigers stars Josh Starling, Ben McAlpine and Tui Oloapu, CYMS talents Tom Satterthwaite and Joe Lasagavibau and Bathurst Panthers prop Brent Seager will all potentially play in the same Group 10 side.
Western regional manager Peter Clarke said the demand for representative football from players over the age of 23 was still there, with the game to be used as a selection tool for a Western side to take on the Federation of Italia Rugby League Australia after the season.
“As tough as it is, they love playing and they want more after it,” Clarke said.
“It’s fair to have a senior game … we’re still working out whether Castlereagh and Woodbridge will have teams, though.”
The winner of that senior game will then earn the hosting rights for the Western premiers challenge, with the grand final winners of each competition to face off in September. Under 23 players can still be selected.
On top of that, a Rams women’s team will contest a 13-a-side gala day on February 10 with selectors to then name a NSW country women’s side.