The McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City team has been named ahead of their Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) grand final clash against the University of Canberra Vikings this Saturday, 31 October, 3:00pm (AEST) at Ballymore Stadium.
Last weekend’s semi-final, saw Brisbane City show great resolve to come from behind against the Sydney Stars to book a spot in Saturday’s final. The 47-32 victory at Ballymore was a hard fought affair, with man-of-the-match and City captain Liam Gill leading from the front with two tries.
City head coach Nick Stiles has named an unchanged starting team for this match, but has made one change on the bench. Souths winger Mika Tela replaces his BLK Queensland Premier Rugby teammate Andy Muirhead in the number 23 jersey. Tela crossed for two-tries in Souths’ 39-12 Premier Rugby grand final win over Easts.
The front-row of Matt Mafi, Andrew Ready and Sam Talakai will face their biggest test of the season coming up against a powerful Vikings front-row. Lock Ben Hyne and his second-row partner Cadeyrn Neville will be looking to impress, before Neville begins pre-season with the St.George Queensland Reds.
Brothers’ Luke Beauchamp, the tournament’s leading tackler per game (17), has been selected alongside captain Liam Gill and Adam Korczyk in the back-row.
In the backline, vice-captain Nick Frisby and Jake McIntyre will look to control proceedings in what will be their tenth outing together as a halves-pairing this season.
After scoring 17-points against the Stars, McIntyre extended his lead as the competition’s top point-scorer with a new total of 135 points. His goal kicking will be crucial for Brisbane City on Saturday.
Joining Sunnybank’s Henry Taefu in the centres will be Samu Kerevi, who missed the 2014 NRC final through injury.
Junior Laloifi, ‘The Ballymore Kid’, assisted in Kerevi’s crucial semi-final try last weekend and still leads the competition in terms of tries scored with 14.
Both Chris Kuridrani and Karmichael Hunt had busy games against the Stars and they will be important in City’s challenge this afternoon.
On the bench, Ryan Freney, Markus Vanzati and Feao Fotuaika will provide front row cover. GPS lock Corey Thomas retains his spot on the bench, as does club teammate Waita Setu as the replacement back-rower.
University of Queensland’s Moses Sorovi continues his tenure as Nick Frisby’s understudy and former Australian Sevens flyer Alex Gibbon, alongside Tela round out the match day 23.
Stiles said that his team was excited to reach their second consecutive NRC grand final after a tough win over the Sydney Stars.
“The match last weekend was one that you really want to have leading into a Grand Final. The Stars were very physical and really pushed the boundaries to try and throw us off our game. To come back and score five tries to one in the second half really showed the character and belief within the team,” Stiles said.
When asked about this week’s opponents, Stiles said it was the ideal grand final to finish another successful NRC season.
“When you play Rugby, or any sport for that matter, you want to test yourselves against the best. I believe Canberra have been very deserving of their success so far this season and they are a quality outfit. I have no doubt that both teams will put on a great match for all viewers on Saturday.”
Tickets for the match start $5 for juniors, $15 for concession and $20 for adults when purchased online prior to the match, with registered junior club participants under the age of 16 given free entry when accompanied by a paying adult.
Tickets can be purchased at www.redsrugby.com.au.
Saturday’s match kicks off at 3:00pm (AEST) and the match will also be televised on Fox Sports Channel 502.
Brisbane City side to face Canberra Vikings in the Buildcorp NRC Grand Final on Saturday, 31 October:
1. Matt Mafi – Brothers
2. Andrew Ready – Reds/Easts
3. Sam Talakai – Reds/GPS
4. Ben Hyne - Brothers
5. Cadeyrn Neville – Reds/Manly
6. Luke Beauchamp - Brothers
7. Liam Gill (C) – Reds/Sunnybank
8. Adam Korczyk – Reds/University of Queensland
9. Nick Frisby – Reds/GPS
10. Jake McIntyre – Reds/Sunnybank
11. Junior Laloifi – Sunnybank
12. Henry Taefu – Sunnybank
13. Samu Kerevi – Reds/GPS
14. Chris Kuridrani - Reds / GPS
15. Karmichael Hunt – Reds/Brothers
16. Ryan Freney - GPS
17. Markus Vanzati - Souths
18. Feao Fotuaika - Sunnybank
19. Corey Thomas - GPS
20. Waita Setu - GPS
21. Moses Sorovi – University of Queensland
22. Alex Gibbon – Southern Districts
23. Mika Tela - Souths