While the Country Origin camp doesn’t exactly constitute a break, James McManus says he’s feeling rejuvenated and ready for the Newcastle Knights’ Round 9 match after the experience.
The 29-year-old lapped up the entire week in camp particularly the crescendo, a 34-22 win over City on the Sunday.
“It was a good game. It was a cracking day out there at Wagga,” McManus said in his return to Knights HQ on Tuesday.
“The crowd really came out for it. It was fantastic. It just led to a really good day of football.”
The highly anticipated Origin trial didn’t disappoint with explosive encounters from the outset.
“The start was quite quick. You could just see everyone was fatigued after the first 10 minutes it was that quick,” he said.
“Things just started to open up a little for us."
McManus said motivation for the team came from the players’ reflection on their own experiences playing junior football in country and regional areas as well as the phenomenal reaction from the community to the game.
“We had a big focus on how much it meant to us as Country boys to get up for the game and make sure we were on,” he said.
“There were almost nine and a half thousand people there at Wagga there supporting us.
“It was great that we got the result for them.”
The Knights selection throughout the representative weekend stacked up well with the Country squad featuring Kade Snowden and Tariq Sims in the forwards with McManus joined by Akuila Uate on the opposite wing. Five-eighth Jarrod Mullen was also named in the side but withdrew early in the week due to injury.
“It’s always great when you get to put on a rep jersey, but to put one on next to some of your best mates is really good,” McManus added.
“Aku and I have been there a few times together and we’ve really enjoyed the moment of the whole camp together.
“To have Tariq and Snowy (Snowden) there as well was great. It does make for a really special week.
“There’s something really good about the Country week. It’s a concept that needs to stay. It means a lot to the people out there.
“People in the city probably don’t appreciate how much it means to people out there.
“Anything that can draw nine and a half thousand to a country game it really is a special thing."
McManus expects a positive flow on affect from the Representative Round as the Knights prepare for their clash against Manly.
"We watched a few of the games, Aku and I sat and watched the Fiji Round,” he said.
“It was a great game to watch.
“It’s a great round and good to so many players get to represent their nations. It makes for a good game of footy.
“We were off the back of four losses coming into that Country match. It was good to spend the week around some guys that are playing winning football and are part of some really good teams and consistent teams.
“It’s sometimes just good to get away. They say change is as good as a holiday.
“I think all the boys are feeling that way.
“From talking to the guys here, everyone has come back from the week off really refreshed and ready to go.
“A little break has come at the right time.
"We are back in for recovery on Wednesday and will make sure we have a good couple of sessions before we play Manly.”