By TONY WHITE
RAY MERCY, Xavier Sullivan and Don Dickson will be looking for big games this weekend to make a final impression on Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) selectors, before the division representative team is picked next Wednesday.
South Grafton's Mercy and Sullivan have started the season in great form with the Rebels and Grafton Ghosts talented five-eighth Dickson has also impressed since rejoining the club this year.
The trio is part of a 22-man squad under consideration for selection to play Northern Division in a curtain-raiser to the City versus Country clash at Oakes Oval, Lismore, on May 6.
Round three of the NRRRL pits the Rebels against Kyogle at McKittrick Park on Sunday while the Ghosts take on Marist Brothers at Oakes Oval.
The NRRRL team is coached by Jamie Matthiou, first-grade coach of Cudgen.
Matthiou, originally from Cudgen and a former Australian schoolboy, played in the NRL for 17 years and later spent five years in England as a player and coach. He takes over the representative team from retired Ghost Dean Callaway. He said the Clarence Valley players were well in the running for selection.
"I know Ray well from our days at the Cowboys, Xavier is a big man who can off-load and Don Dickson has impressed me a lot in what I've seen of him," Matthiou said.
"We (the selectors) have got a possibles and probables at the moment. Some positions we've all but decided on but there are probably seven or eight positions still available.
"I want to have another look at several players this weekend then I'll sit down with the selectors on Wednesday and come up with the final 17-man squad for the game.
"For those that miss out it won't be a reflection on their ability. Injuries and what not can change things around and positions will become available."
Mercy and his brother Ken this year switched to the Rebels after previously playing for the Lower Clarence Magpies.
The mercurial centre/five-eighth, nicknamed 'Razor', has scored four tries in the Rebels first two wins, against Casino and his old club, Lower Clarence.
Mercy has a wealth of experience and is a former Group One representative.
Man mountain Sullivan, who previously played rugby union in Sydney before joining the Rebels last year, has the size and strength to worry any defence and his ability to off-load is improving with every game.
Dickson, a Ghosts junior, spent several years in Sydney with NRL clubs St George and Canterbury before returning from Wollongong to rejoin the Ghosts under Matt McKee.
A tall, prodigious kicker with a touch of class, Dickson is proving a great asset to the Ghosts.
Dickson is being considered as a lock in the representative team.
n The representative squad is: Craig Thirston (Cudgen), Milton Thaiday (Ballina), Graham Smallwood (Marist Bros), Ray Mercy (South Grafton), Don Dickson (Grafton), Luke Campbell (Marist Bros), Christian Mene (Kyogle), Simon Andrews (Marist Bros), Xavier Sullivan (South Grafton), Ryan O'Connell (Seagulls), Jarrod Brown (Murwillumbah), Brian McCarthy (Cudgen), Damien Bryant (Cudgen), Troy Dickinoski (Cudgen), Brent Cockram (Byron Bay), Ricky Lang (Murwillumbah), Daniel Evans (Seagulls), Chris King (Byron Bay), Shaun Laurie (Ballina), Niko Vakararawa (Marist Bros), Ryce Vincent (Seagulls), Robert Reed (Murwillumbah).