Hervey Bay Oztag superstars ready to battle in origin
HERVEY Bay's Oztag superstars are training hard in preparation to do battle with the cockroaches from down south.
Bay sensations Shaya Mackey and Christie Palmer have been selected in the Queensland State of Origin side.
The pair will play the first match on June 28 in Blacktown, Sydney.
Mackey, who has just returned from touring New Zealand as part of the Australian Oztag side was looking forward to the origin encounter.
"New South Wales is where the cream of the crop players come from," she said.
"It's another honour and another tick in the box."
Christie Palmer is a seasoned state competition.
"This is my third year in a row and I'm a bit shocked because I was in a moon boot two weeks before I was due to play," she said.
Palmer injured her foot while skiing in Canada.
Mackey's recent tour with Australia was the first for a Hervey Bay Oztag player and a successful one for the nation.
"We won our series four games from five and we probably should have won the last one," she said.
"The Kiwis came out pretty strong but it was an amazing experience."
Mackey took the professionalism from the competition as a highlight.
"These ladies I was playing with in my side have been playing league touch and union for years so they're committed," she said.
"I was chucked on the wing because of my speed and my lack of experience but I did my job."
As for origin in June Mackey says it will "be even harder" in her first time playing for Queensland.
Mackey says the higher level of interest in the sport locally can be attributed to organisers Kelly and Glen Hanson.
"The competition is growing here in Hervey Bay - we're getting there slowly," she said.