SCONE’S Ryan Jackson will make his Country debut and Pirates Josh Stewart his return when the Cockatoos kick-off their 2014 campaign at Terrigal today.
First up for the Cockatoos is their annual grudge match with Sydney Suburban.
The Cockatoos will be trying to keep their hands on the Maher-Ross Cup after claiming the silverware last year.
It’s always been a tight affair with six points the biggest winning margin since the inception of the trophy.
The Cockatoos have named an experienced line up with 15 players who have previously pulled on the gold jersey.
Stewart is one of those and is back in the fold after missing last year through injury.
He’ll start at breakaway.
Jackson will pack down at hooker and be making his first
The Englishman is playing his third season with the Brumbies.
“The first year I was here for three months,” he said.
He had a contract back home and returned to play out the English season but came back to Scone the next season.
And stayed on.
One of the motivating factors for that was the Brumbies going so close last year.
Now he’s playing for the Cockatoos with the potential of a tour to the US later in the year.
“I’d love to go on the tour at the end of the year,” Jackson said.
There’s a few games to play before then with the Cockatoos also lined up to play the Australian U20s and Australian Services.
Jackson said the Cockatoos were on his radar having played at a pretty high level back in England.
He was part of the Sale Academy.
“I was wishing to play Country this year,” he said.
“I was pleased with that (making the squad).” He thought he didn’t play too badly at the Country Championships down at Mudgee and thought he was a chance of making the squad.
That initial squad was then trimmed to the 23 for today after a weekend training camp two weekends ago.
From what he’s seen both then and at the Country Champs Jackson said they should go pretty well.
“We’ve got a lot of good players there,” he said.
His thoughts will also be with the Brumbies at Gunnedah.
They are fairly-well placed but could give themselves a bit more of a buffer with the points today.
Jackson said they possibly don’t have on paper as strong a squad as last year but are coming together better on the field.
He’s one of several overseas players in the Brumbies ranks. They’ve got Englishmen, Scotsmen, Irishmen and even a South African.