FORMER NSW Country coach Matt Thomas believes there are a stack of players in the NHRU who would be in contention for a place in the Cockatoos squad.
What's more, Thomas is happy to help them get there.
The NHRU last week decided against sending a senior side to NSW Country Championships in Tamworth on the June long weekend, which essentially ruled the players out of selection for the Cockatoos.
However, Thomas said if local players were interested in playing in Tamworth he would contact other zones to help find them a team.
"I think it's a shame Newcastle aren't going," said Thomas, who now coaches Maitland. "I have had a few players come to me and say they are keen to play and I'm going to push them towards zones that need a hand. There are a stack of players in this competition who have the quality to play for Country."
Entering a Newcastle Barbarians had been floated but appears unlikely.
In the past, players overlooked for the NHRU side have been drafted into other zones to help fill gaps.
Maitland centre Chris Logan played for Mid North Coast last year and was the only NHRU player selected for Country.
Blacks teammates Harry Chapman, Phil Bradford, Marcus Christensen and Travis Brooke are among those to have expressed an interest to Thomas.
Meanwhile, the NHRU will hold a selection trial at Gibbs Brothers Oval at 10.30am on Sunday for the under-19 side to compete in Tamworth.