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When Canberra Raiders forward Matt Adamson used to open the batting with Adam Gilchrist as a teenager, he dreamt of one day wearing the baggy green.
Adamson will have to settle for the lime green as he and his Raiders teammates take on Super 12 team the ACT Brumbies in a charity cricket match at West Belconnen Leagues Club on Tuesday.
Adamson, who has played five Super League Tests for Australia and two Origin matches for NSW, is at home on a cricket pitch.
The giant second rower actually represented NSW Under 17s, opening the batting with current Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.
"Gilly and I were good mates as young kids and we played a lot of representative cricket together. We played U17 NSW together and went to a lot of cricket camps. We went to Narrabeen one year and spent about a month together.
"At the time there were high expectations on Gilly to go on and do great things and of course he has. I remember watching him back then ? he always had so much time as a cricketer, his footwork was great and he struck the ball as hard as he does now."
Adamson actually moved to Sydney from his hometown Taree when he was 16 to pursue a cricket career. He played Sydney grade cricket with former Australian Test all-rounder Greg Matthews.
His elder brother Phil was playing league with Parramatta at the time and Adamson got offered an opportunity to trial with the Eels. He has since played 158 NRL games - most with Penrith- and spent three seasons in England.
"The only reason I played was so I could say I had played on Parramatta Stadium. As it turned out, I got offered a contract," Adamson said.
During his stint with the Rhinos in England, Adamson also got the opportunity to do some cricket commentating. He commentated with cricket greats Michael Holding, Ian Botham and David Gower during a Test match at Headingly. Just this week. Adamson also got behind the microphone at the Prime Ministers XI game in Canberra.
The Raiders squad for Tuesday night boasts some cricket talent. Head coach Matt Elliott was an opening fast bowler for Queensland as a junior, playing in the same squads as Ian Healy. Raiders forward Kris Kahler also represented Queensland Under 16s before choosing rugby league. But the pressure is squarely on Adamson after yesterday's Raiders net session.
"I?ve talked a good game, now I have to come up with the goods," Adamson said. "But it?s for charity, it?s a great cause and hopefully the community will come out and support the event."
Raiders captain Simon Woolford has seen the Canberra community rally for such events in the past.
?The Raiders are always a proactive club. I remember the Canberra bushfires a couple of years ago and we staged a Sevens tournament at Tuggeranong which raised well over $100,000. This is no different. The club was on the front foot as soon as the Tsunami hit.?
The Howzat ? Cross Code Charity Appeal will be held from 4.30pm on Tuesday, February 1. Guests will include Australian one-day cricketers Brad Haddin and Nathan Bracken and gold medal Olympians Petria Thomas and Sarah Ryan.