A NUMBER of Macleay Valley Mustangs, Kempsey Dragons and Smithtown Tigers junior rugby league players will hope to impress at this weekend's North Coast Bulldogs selection trials.
Selectors will cast their eye over up to 70 players across both under-16 (Andrew Johns Cup) and under-18 (Laurie Daley Cup) divisions in Coffs Harbour.
Under-18 North Coast coach Dan Kemp said of those 70 players across both age groups, up to 35 in each division would be selected for a training camp that will run until Christmas.
From there, the squad will be further cut to 25 players for the competition kick-off early next year.
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"Fingers crossed the selectors like what they see and we get a few local blokes in there," he said.
"It's the first time we've done it like this; usually you get selectors that go out and head hunt the players they want.
"But it's a little different this year because COVID meant (some of) the Group 2 boys didn't play so they haven't had the opportunity to show what they can do."
Kemp said he preferred to have open trials rather than selectors relying on their knowledge of players.
"We don't usually have trials, you're just emailed and invited which I never liked because you never find the rough diamond ... the kid that's gone under the radar," he said.
"I'm genuinely excited because we didn't know what response we'd get, but we've got every kid we would have wanted to trial plus a heap more.
"That means competition for spots."