State Of Origin 2017: Josh Jackson will dedicate potential series win to Gulgong

ON THE CHARGE: Josh Jackson was upset to miss out on the chance to play for the Country Origin side this year. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
ON THE CHARGE: Josh Jackson was upset to miss out on the chance to play for the Country Origin side this year. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

For the 2,018 people in Gulgong, this one's for you.

After being controversially blocked from playing the final City-Country fixture last month, NSW star Josh Jackson has dedicated a potential State of Origin series win to his home town.

The Canterbury forward made headlines when he spoke about his NRL club's decision to make their players unavailable for the end of the traditional country match due to player welfare.

The Bulldogs eventually caved in to criticism and allowed promising second-rower Adam Elliot to play in Mudgee, however, Jackson remains upset at the abolishment of the match.

"It's extremely disappointing they're getting rid of the whole weekend, because being a part of that Country team you see the joy it brings to kids and people," Jackson told AAP.

"I think a lot of people from the city take it for granted.

"They have the ability to go see NRL every weekend, mix with NRL players and have players come out and do clinics and talks.

"But in the country, you just don't get that mate."

However, the Blues back-rower insists he has put the bitterness behind him and will channel all his energy on claiming a series win for the good folk in the central tablelands.

One of 11 players in the Blues' game-two squad that hail from the bush, Jackson says he's more motivated than ever to represent where he comes from.

After taking away his Country jersey, this is now the best chance the 26-year- old has got.

"When you're representing any team, you're representing your family and your friends and the place that you're from," Jackson said.

"But it's more so now than before because they scrapped the City-Country game.

"Before game one we spoke about why we play the game and who'll we be playing for in NSW.

"On Wednesday, I'll be playing for the people of Gulgong.

"Coming from a small country town in NSW, it gives me a lot of pride to be able to do that.

"To give confidence to a young kid coming through and show that they can do what I do."

Jackson called for the NRL to stage more games in the bush in the future.

"I remember we had players come out once to one of the areas around us, and for the next couple of months that was all anyone was talking about," he said.

"I'd like to see something done, maybe more NRL games taken to the country; just an initiative from the NRL for the country people."

In terms of other country products in the NSW side, James Maloney started his career at Orange while Wellington’s Blake Ferguson rounds out the western trio.

Game two of the State of Origin series is scheduled to kick off at 8pm on Wednesday night.