BLISSFULLY unaware of his representative responsibilities, Junee captain-coach Jade Williams said he was shocked to be announced in the Group Nine Indigenous All Stars line up this week.
Although thrilled to be included in the blockbuster to be played in Albury on Saturday week, the former Group 11 star yesterday revealed he was stunned when his name was tossed up at starting centre.
"I wasn't really aware to be honest, it was sort of unexpected because I hadn't given it any thought," he told The Daily Advertiser yesterday.
"In saying that though, I played for Group 11 for the last two seasons and we won the Country Championships this year so I'd like to go one more with Group Nine."
Traditionally touted as a precursor to the Country Championships, Williams said he was eager to impress the Group Nine selectors.
This year’s Indigenous and Group Nine All Stars game will be the fifth since the concept was introduced in 2009, and the first to be played at Greenfield Park.
No stranger to the All Stars concept, Williams helped incorporate a similar event in Group 11, which will be played for the first time this season.
“This is actually the first year it’ll be played in Group 11, I sort of helped it get off the ground but unfortunately I won’t be there to enjoy it,” he said.
“It’ll be good to play it with Group Nine though, it sounds like a good concept and taking to Albury is a great idea to share it around a bit.”
Diesels teammate and former NRL under 20s star Toby Key was also named in the Indigenous line up, and Williams insists the young forward is champing at the bit to play.
“We spoke a bit about it the other day, he’s keen as for the All Star game and he’s pretty excited by the chance to play Group Nine if he can,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get him there.
“Traditionally, Group Nine is one of the strongest competitions so hopefully we can help it get back there.”
Williams said the former Parramatta Toyota Cup prop had been a huge influence at the Diesels in the pre-season.
“He’s doing everything right and giving the other boys a bit of motivation at training I suppose,” he said.
“Things are progressing how I like it at the moment. The boys are keen to keep improving and everyone is putting in the effort.”