The annual Indigenous Under 16s match-up between the Queensland Murri side and the NSW Koori side is a crucible that's forged some of the NRL's most highly touted talent, but this year the clash holds more significance than ever before.
This year, St John's junior Elijah Suckling will be representing Dubbo in the side and playing to bring the Steve 'Bear' Hall Shield back home.
Hall, a local legend who tragically passed away last year on the eve of the 2018 fixture, was instrumental in the formation of the Under 16s Koori side and served as the team's original manager along with accruing an incredible list of achievements both as a player and in his post-playing career.
Suckling, already awed by the opportunity to represent NSW, said the chance to play for a title named after Hall was a massive responsibility.
"It's a huge honour to play for the shield, it's hard to explain how it feels to possibly play a role in bringing it back," Suckling said.
Suckling was selected for the side after trialling with a host of other NSW talent at the Academy of Sports in Narrabeen.
"Everything they've given us is great, out here in Dubbo, you are given a lot, but the new things they taught us in Sydney, it was incredible, you learn a lot there."
"The opportunity that they've provided for me is amazing, we've already got to meet so many footy players, and at the last outing which was the trials, we got to meet Freddy Fittler, which was great," Suckling said.
"There was about sixty odd kids, it is good to have guys like Nathan Blacklock and Freddy Fittler recognise something in us, but they weren't just looking at the talent, they were looking at us to see our attitude and see how we are behind the scenes."
"You can be a brilliant player, but they really wanted to see who we really are."
While it's early days yet, with a date for the fixture still yet to be announced for 2020, Suckling is optimistic that he and the others, including fellow Central West prospects Redbend College's Kane Bailey and Bayden Moran, will be able to help provide a win when the two side's meet.
"Just to be selected in this team, it's really something, I just think, 'wow, I'm really representing New South Wales', but just to say that I had the opportunity to play for Bear's Shield is a huge achievement let alone if we win, that'd be huge."
For Suckling, who got a crash course in playing against some of the most physical and athletic players in the state at the trials, his usual positions of Lock and Hooker provide new dangers, but the junior is confident that the tenacity he showed there will win out
"For a smaller player like me at Lock, it's all about running it hard and just giving it everything that I have out there on the field."