Country New South Wales’ four strongest rugby league teams will descend on Dubbo’s Apex Oval this Saturday for the Toyota Centenary Trophy semi-finals, with the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) team facing a much tougher task than last weekend.

Northern Rivers shocked Group 19 last Saturday at Ballina, scoring a convincing 60-26 win after leading 38-0 at half-time.

On Saturday Northern Rivers will face the strong Illawarra division, who scored a 56-22 win over Group 11 in round three.

Saturday’s winners will face off in the NSW final on June 21 for a chance to face Queensland’s best bush footy team in front of thousands of fans at State of Origin Game Three in Sydney.

Awaiting the NSW winner will be the Townsville Stingers or the Gold Coast Vikings, who on June 14 will clash at Mackay Junior Fields in the Queensland final.

Northern Rivers kick off proceedings this Saturday against Illawarra before Canberra take on the might of Newcastle.

Group 9 will start red-hot favourites against Castlereagh Cup, while an intriguing battle looms between Group 11 and Group 19 to round out the day’s action.

Round 3 results:

  • NEWCASTLE 40 (Matt Thurtson, Colin Clarke, Michael Fortier, Cheyne McIntyre, Beau Simpson, Dean Amos, Daniel Stuart tries; Dean Amos 6 goals) defeated CENTRAL COAST 16 (Jason Thorne, Jason Cook, Grand Condon tries. Jason Thorn 2 goals).
  • ILLAWARRA 56 (Greh Reh, Ben Cole, Jarrod Boyd 2, Blake Dunn, Wes Hallam, Reece Simmonds, Scott Borg, Ty McCarthy tries; Reece Simmonds 8 goals) defeated GROUP ELEVEN 22 (Steve Lyons, Darren Jackson, Tom Clyburn tries. Peter Ford 3 goals).
  • CANBERRA 44 (Richie Allan, Ben Sione, Brad Robertson, Michael Dodson, Pat Clark 3, Nathan Tait tries; Ben Nicoll 6 goals) defeated GROUP NINE 30 (Sam Geale, Brendan Sing, Kyle McCarthey, Steve McDonnell 2 tries; Baden Power 5 goals)
  • NORTHERN RIVERS 60 (Ben Crawford, Shannon Murphy, Wilo James, Clarence Kelly 3, Willie Hammond, Glen Slockee 2, Chad Grant, Andrew Maroney tries; Willie Hammond 8 goals) defeated GROUP NINETEEN 26 (Rodney Bull, Dan Vidler, Nathan Blacklock 2, Fred Waters tries; Fred Waters 3 goals).

PICTURE: Flying winger Glen Slockee (South Tweed) on the way to scoring one of his two tries for Northern Rivers against Group 19 last Saturday at Ballina.