City vs Country is an annual National Rugby League match which pits representatives who originally started their careers in the country or are still in the bush (Country) against those who played their junior football in Sydney (City). It generally takes place in rural areas of New South Wales and is seen as a selection trail for the NSW State of Origin team.
Dating as far back as 1886, this match has become one of the more exciting games of the year. When the first Rugby League competition was formed in 1908, the City v Country match was still finding its feet as one of the highlights of the season. In 1911, the first official City/Country showdown took place in the suburbs of Sydney, with City winning the inaugural match. In 1928, a residency selection rule was introduced, which deemed each player could only represent their team of origin. By 1987, the Origin rule was introduced into the match, whereby any player who had played their first senior game over the age of 16 in either a City area or a Country, could choose who to represent.
Many great players have donned either the gold and blue or the maroon and yellow over the years; from Peter Sterling and Wayne Pearce in the late 80’s, to immortal Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler in the mid 90’s. The noughties saw the likes of Jarryd Hayne and Brett Morris don their respective jerseys and secure a prestigious Origin jersey.