Newcastle Knights winger Akuila Uate has a spring in his step since pulling on the yellow and maroon jersey for the Country Origin side in Sunday’s representative match.
The scintillating back takes great pride in his contribution to team’s 34-22 win over their City rivals in the regional centre of Wagga Wagga.
“It has been exciting,” he said on his return to Knights HQ on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old dual international, who is no stranger to representative football having gained selection to represent Country Origin, NSW and Country a number of times since 2012, was thrilled with this year’s Country selection.
“We knew we were up against a tough City team and in the end we got the win which was very exciting,” he said.
“It’s always going to be a tough game.”
A sweetener to his selection was spending the week alongside Knights teammates James McManus, Tariq Sims and Kade Snowden.
In the high energy match the speedy winger powered up the sideline past several City opponents for a try near the uprights to square the score before the half time break.
“I’m definitely really happy. I was hoping I’d get a try after Jimmy (McManus) and all three of us got the first three tries which was very exciting,” he said.
"I was happy with the whole team’s performance."
While the Fijian born winger has enjoyed a strong start to season 2015, he believes the representative experience has pushed him to take his football to the next level when Newcastle takes on the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday.
“I’m very confident now coming back from the Country team. It has been a good week and I have learned so much from the whole week,” he said.
“I can’t wait to come back to training tomorrow with the boys.”
While much of the attention in the lead up was centred on Sunday’s match at McDonalds Park, Uate said the week held much greater significance.
The fact the City v Country match was hosted in the regional centre of Wagga Wagga gave 9,127 people the opportunity to experience one of the highest levels of NRL football.
“We did a lot of promos for he kids in Wagga. The country guys love it when all the NRL players come there or we have games like City v Country on the weekend,” he said.
“It was good to get a win in front of the country town of Wagga.
“A lot of country people came to watch and they deserved that win.
“It means the world to them.
“I’ve had a good week and so have the boys and I was happy to be a part of the team again.”