Former NSW Origin player Beau Scott says Canterbury's decision to exclude their stars from next month's City-Country match hurts both their players and the game.
Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle confirmed on Tuesday morning that Bulldogs players would not appear in the final contest of the annual fixture in Mudgee on May 7, with an away match in North Queensland four days later on the Thursday.
Country Country Rugby League boss Terry Quinn has also expressed his disappointment over the call, despite the club not having any players turn out in last year's match.
Scott played his first of three matches for country in 2009, the year before he played his first match for NSW.
When asked whether the decision to sit players out hurt the fixture or the Bulldogs' up-and-coming players, the Eels forward responded: "Probably both".
"It's a great stepping stone to play for your state," Scott said.
"It gives you an opportunity on a bigger stage than week-to-week football.
"You play against a better team and definitely a vital stepping stone to Origin football for NSW."
Scott's Eels teammate Nathan Brown - who played for City last year - said he would be annoyed if he was told he couldn't play by Parramatta.
"I don't think they would do that but," he said.
Meanwhile Quinn criticised a lack of open discussion by the Bulldogs, saying he found out of the decision through the media on Tuesday morning.
"That is probably the most disappointing thing about it," he said.
"I can understand where Des (Hasler) and Raelene are coming from with player welfare in the short turnaround, but previously when the Country-City game was played on Friday nights, the boys backed up the next day."
Quinn also said the problem stems from a lack of foresight in NRL scheduling.
But he expected players would still want to be involved in the last of the series before it was squeezed out of the packed schedule.
"They had the opportunity to play in the last of what has been part of the rugby league fabric since 1911," Quinn said.
"So it would mean a hell of a lot to those players."
Canterbury's Adam Elliott and Kerrod Holland would have been considered the most likely to get a call up to the fixture.
Intriguingly, the Bulldogs play the Warriors in New Zealand just two days after State of Origin II, with forwards David Klemmer and Josh Jackson likely to be featuring in the NSW side.
Meanwhile City coach Brad Fittler said he and Country coach Craig Fitzgibbons had agreed not to select Canterbury players after discussions with the Bulldogs.
"We understand the Bulldogs position and support their stance on the basis of player welfare, therefore, we will not select any Bulldogs players for City vs Country," Fittler said.