MACQUARIE Uni North Harbour Rays selectors have included stylish Eastwood centre Tom Hill in their team to take on the Sydney Stars in their Buildcorp National Rugby Championship opener on Saturday August 22 at Manly Oval.
Hill was one of the Woodies’ workhorses in the Shute Shield grand final against the Manly Marlins at Concord Oval and he will now team up with a number of players he was on the opposite side to last weekend.
Eastwood won the premiership decider 15-12 with a field goal sealing the Marlins fate heart breakingly in the 81st minute.
“Yeah it was a bit funny training with the guys that I played against on Saturday on Tuesday down at Manly,” Hill said.
Hill will slot in at No.12 and form what looks like quite a lethal midfield combination with Warringah’s Michael Adams.
The rigours of the Shute Shield finals series has taken its toll though, with leading Marlins Sam Lane and Reece Hodge sitting this week out to get themselves right for the rest of the NRC campaign.
Lane has an ankle problem while Hodge is managing a hip pointer injury and also picked up a cauliflower ear in the grand final loss to Eastwood.
That means that Hamish Angus will run the show from the flyhalf spot and Dave Feltscheer gets first crack at the No.15 jersey.
Another Warringah Rat, Wayne Borsak will anchor the scrum at tighthead prop in what will be his NRC debut.
Borsak has been good all season for the Rats and should team up well with his clubmate and captain Luke Holmes at hooker while Mitch Lewis (Manly) will complete the front row at loosehead.
It’s all new in the secondrow with the experienced Cameron Treloar (Warringah) teaming up with the tireless Mark Johnson from Gordon.
Johnson was born in South Africa and has played there over the past couple of seasons but has been playing well for the Highlanders in 2015.
Jack Dempsey (Gordon) and Sam Ward (Warringah) along with Warringah’s Boyd Killingworth will make up the backrow.
Dempsey has come on in leaps and bounds over the past 12 months and head coach Geoff Townsend is expecting big things from the dynamic backrower.
Manly’s Alex Northam and Richard Woolf (Northern Suburbs) will form a very pacey wing combination.
Woolf gets his chance with Richard Hooper dropping out of the squad because of his work schedule.
The leading try scorer in the Shute Shield this year Josh Holmes will start the game against the Stars in the scrumhalf jersey.
Rory O’Connor who has come on well at Warringah this year will work off the bench while Ed Gower will share game time with Cameron Treloar.
“We’ve come up with what we think is a good side and the combinations and game shape that we have been working on have come together well at training this week,” Townsend said.
“It was always going to be hard with a lot of the Manly boys playing in the game grand final but they have all got into it and contributed well.
“But the game on Saturday will give us a good idea of where we are at.”
MACQUARIE UNI NORTH HARBOUR RAYS
15. Dave FELTSCHEER (Warringah)
14. Alex NORTHAM (Manly)
13. Michael ADAMS (Warringah)
12. Tom HILL (Eastwood)
11. Richard WOOLF (Northern Suburbs)
10. Hamish ANGUS (Warringah)
9. Josh HOLMES (Warringah)
8. Sam WARD (Warringah)
7. Boyd KILLINGWORTH (Warringah)
6. Jack DEMPSEY (Gordon)
5. Cameron TRELOAR (Warringah)
4. Mark JOHNSON (Gordon
3. Wayne BORSAK (Warringah)
2. Luke HOLMES (captain, Warringah)
1. Mitch LEWIS (Manly)
16. Vance ELLIOTT (Manly)
17. Rory O’CONNOR (Warringah)
18. Lawrance HUNTING (Northern Suburbs)
19. Ed GOWER (Manly)
20. Harry BERGELIN (Manly)
21. Tim DONLAN (Manly)
22. Dennis PILI-GAITAU (Manly)
23. Tyson DAVIS (Warringah)
24. Harry RORKE (Gordon)
Meanwhile, new Sydney Stars head coach Peter Playford and assistant coaches Tim Davidson, Dan Parks and David Lyons have named their 24 man team, and there’s a bunch of players to look out for, with Tolu Latu, James Hanson, Dave Dennis, David Hickey, Pat McCutcheon and Tom Kingston all starting, with Jeremy Tilse providing impact off the bench.
1. TOLU LATU (SYDNEY UNI)
2. JAMES HANSON (MELBOURNE REBELS)
3. TOM ROBERTSON (SYDNEY UNI)
4. ANDREW LEOTA (SOUTHERN DISTRICTS)
5. MATT PHILIP (SYDNEY UNI)
6. DAVE DENNIS (SYDNEY UNI)
7. DAVID HICKEY (C) (SYDNEY UNI)
8. PAT MCCUTCHEON (SYDNEY UNI)
9. JAKE GORDON (SYDNEY UNI)
10. ANGUS ROBERTS (SYDNEY UNI)
11. HARRY JONES (WARRINGAH)
12. ANDREW ROBINSON (CANBERRA VIKINGS)
13. JIM STEWART (SYDNEY UNI)
14. HENRY CLUNIES ROSS (SYDNEY UNI)
15. TOM KINGSTON (VC) (SYDNEY UNI)
16. TOM COOLICAN (SYDNEY UNI)
17. JEREMY TILSE (SYDNEY UNI)
18. MATT SANDELL (SYDNEY UNI)
19. ROHAN O'REAGAN (SYDNEY UNI)
20. JAKE WAINWRIGHT (SYDNEY UNI)
21. RICHARD DRAPER (SYDNEY UNI)
22. JORDAN MCGREGOR (SOUTHERN DISTRICTS)
23. JOHN HALE (BALMAIN)
24. OFA FINAU (BALMAIN)