By Mary Maidiotis

The St George Illawarra Dragons Community department along with the NRL Development team are proud to be hosting the Country Cup & Shaun Timmins Shield this week, ahead of the finals on Tuesday, April 28.

The Cup kicked off last week in North Illawarra and continued this week in South Illawarra on Wednesday and in Shoalhaven on Thursday.

The Cup is split into three competitive divisions - U13, U15, and Opens - with over 50 schools fighting for spots to join Eurobodalla and Southern Highlands in the Country Cup Southern NSW Finals to be held in Term 2.

The Shield is in its eleventh year and Dragons legend and former Australian representative Shaun Timmins said that having a shield named after him is a great honour.

“I hope all the kids who participate in the competition look forward to it on the calendar because I certainly do, and I can’t wait to attend the finals day in Ulladulla on April 28,” said Timmins.

All games will consist of two x 12 minute halves, each with a two minute half-time break.

Teams will field 13 players a side, with up to seven reserves allowed.

Rules have been modified to suit the younger players, ensuring their safety by forbidding tackles above the armpits, lifting, shoulder charging, palming, and collar-grabbing.

The event gives students who are usually unable to play on weekends, the opportunity to experience playing rugby league and learn more about the game firsthand.

Students interested in playing rugby league can visit PlayNRL.com for more information and to register for their local team.