Niangala’s Jock Armstrong is back in the Country Eagles squad for this season and the side are set to land in the region this weekend.
The Eagles will take on the Canberra Vikings at Armidale’s Bellevue Oval this Saturday and, if selected, Armstrong can’t wait to get back to play on home turf.
“If I get in the squad, it's quite competitive but still fingers crossed,” he said.
“I don't really get home much at all these days so getting up there would be awesome and playing footy as well would be cool.”
Armstrong is one of a handful of players at the Country Eagles who have landed a spot in the squad without having a Super Rugby contract.
He said it is “surreal” to be surrounded by the players he looks up to.
“I remember when I was playing in under 13s, Paddy Ryan came out to Tamworth and had a chat and now he is in this team as well,” he said.
“I remember sitting down there and he's a massive bloke and he was talking about how he moved down to Sydney and now he is playing for the Waratahs.
“I was a bit nervous coming in because I think there might only be six or seven boys who aren't contracted in the 30-man squad but it is all just like another day. It is definitely a bit of a contrast between the way club teams train and the contracted guys do. A lot of off-field stuff too but little tips you gain from them, even just hanging around them, is good.”
The main game commences at 1pm with juniors and women’s from 9am.