REPRESENTATIVE rugby is nothing new for Mel Waterford and Marita Shoulders, so when they use 'once in a lifetime' to describe the coming weekend you know it's huge.
The Bathurst Bulldogs duo will get the chance to play on their home turf at Ashwood Park when it hosts round two of the Chikarovski Cup.
But that's not the only reason Waterford and Shoulders, who form part of the New South Wales Country side, are excited.
They know it will also be a huge weekend given the calibre of players participating in this year's annual Chikarovski Cup.
"We are really lucky this year because there was no real rep rugby program for those top girls leading into a World Cup year, they've put them into this to gain some game time," Waterford said.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to play with some of the best players in Australia. We have the Wallaroos captain [Grace Hamilton] in our team and you are playing against the Wallaroos goal kicker.
"The calibre of players who are going to be on show this weekend are going to be amazing. There are a lot of Super W players and Australian players."
Since the inaugural edition of the Chikarovski Cup was played in 2017 Waterford has been part of the NSW Country squad, while Shoulders only missed out in 2019 due to injury.
They had plenty of competition to retain their spots this season with 65 players showing up for a selection trial at Singleton. The five-hour session involved skills work and games and both Shoulders and Waterford made the cut.
The calibre of players who are going to be on show this weekend are going to be amazing. There are a lot of Super W players and Australian players.Mel Waterford
They are delighted to now get the chance to learn from the likes of fellow Central West native Hamilton, her fellow Wallaroo and NSW Country skipper Katrina Baker and prop Melissa Fatu, who has also worn green and gold.
"Being able to be in a team where people know what they are doing, they know their positions, they put you into holes you didn't know were there - just being able to play with players who are at that next level is special," Waterford said.
"It's something you'll bring back to your club too. We'll learn so much on the weekend and learned so much last weekend, there are a lot of exciting young girls coming through who are just going to excel from this experience."
NSW Country began its cup campaign last Sunday with a 24-15 upset win over Sydney Blue. Both Shoulders and Waterford, who are well versed with the rivalry, were delighted with the four tries to two performance.
"It was crazy, they definitely were not expecting it," Shoulders said.
"We held them out for ages and then came from behind. They took back over, had a heap of possession and we defended forever and we just pulled through, we turned defence back into attack."
It is a performance the Bulldogs talents hope to build on this weekend.
The first of three games to be played at Ashwood Park kicks off Saturday at 2pm between Sydney Gold and Sydney Blue, with NSW Country's clash with Canberra President's XV to follow at 4pm.
Shoulders and Waterford will be in action for NSW Country again on Sunday when they play Sydney Gold from noon.
"They were just trying to organise a ground in New South Wales Country region to play at and we were lucky enough it was Bathurst, it's very exciting. I don't think we'll ever see something like this again," Waterford said.