FORMER Port Macquarie Sharks player Matt Shipway has been granted selection in the Country firsts side to tour South Africa.
Shipway steered the Sharks to grand final victory as captain in 2006.
Two years later the backrower found himself in Newcastle.
His move didn’t start to well with the team he initially signed with, the Central Coast’s Entrance, folded before he played a single game.
In 2008 he was picked up by the Macquarie Scorpians where he played two years.
Following that Shipway made the move to South Newcastle where he has played since.
He even signed on as captain coach for a couple of seasons.
But Shipway credits his selection in the representative team to his decision to give up the coaching role and concentrate on his game this year.
“I think I still played pretty good footy as the captain coach,” he said.
“But the move allowed me to concentrate more on my game and the biggest thing was not having to worry about anyone else.
"As the captain coach I’d have to turn up and watch the first two games and talk to the other coaches then go in the sheds and try and get everyone else ready for the game as well.”
The Country team will take on the South African National team – The Rhinos – as well as an academy side and the 28-year-old Shipway is excited at the strength of his squad.
“It looks to be a very strong team,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of it. There’s a few ex-NRL players in there.
“When there’s that quality of players in the team it helps you play better footy too.”
Shipway will head to Sydney on Friday where he will join a three-day camp before heading overseas.
The Country team will play the Rhinos on October 18.