McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City head coach Nick Stiles has named his side for the opening match of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship in a Grand Final rematch against Perth Spirit at Ballymore Stadium this Thursday.
The side features 11 players with Super Rugby experience, as well as eight returning players from last year’s Grand Final.
In all, the match-day 23 features 11 players sourced directly from BLK Queensland Premier Rugby and Stiles said he was happy with the balance of his first side for the season.
“As with last year’s Brisbane City squad, we’ve got a great mix of Reds and club Rugby players who are all raring to go. We’ve been training for two weeks, but now it’s about getting out and playing and seeing how we gel as a team,” he said.
“The key for me is that we don’t lose the momentum we built last year. The NRC is a great development tool for Queensland Rugby at both the professional and grassroots levels and we want to see that continue.
“Last year we saw the benefit of this competition for both the Reds, with many NRC players going on to make their Super Rugby debut, and club Rugby, with players and staff getting exposure to a higher level of competition.
“We had a strong following in Brisbane last year with really passionate fans showing great support at Ballymore throughout the season. We want to continue to build on that by playing attractive Rugby that they want to come and watch and being a team they’re proud to support.”
Brisbane and Perth met twice in last year’s NRC, with City claiming wins on both occasions – 26-21 in Perth in Round 2 and 37-26 in the Grand Final at Ballymore.
“Even though this is a young competition, there’s already some good history between these two sides. The crowd at last year’s final made for a great atmosphere, so we’re hoping to see a lot of them back here for the rematch,” Stiles said.
Tickets are now on sale for all Queensland-based NRC matches at www.redsrugby.com.au.
QRU has introduced a new ticket offer for the 2015 season, with registered junior club participants under the age of 16 given free entry to any Queensland-based NRC game when accompanied by a paying adult.
Tickets start at just $5 for juniors, $10 for concession and $15 for adults when purchased online prior to the match.
Thursday’s match kicks off at 7:30pm, with tickets still available at www.redsrugby.com.au or at the gate. The match will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
QRU has also created a unique opportunity around the Brisbane City v NSW Country Eagles fixture at Ballymore Stadium on Sunday 20 September – when it will attempt to break the World Record for the World’s Largest Scrum. Fans can head to www.thescrum.net.au to be involved.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City side to play Perth
1. Pettowa Paraka – Reds/Easts
2. Andrew Ready – Reds/Easts
3. Sam Talakai – Reds/GPS
4. Corey Thomas - GPS
5. Cadeyrn Neville – Reds/Manly
6. Luke Beauchamp - Brothers
7. Liam Gill (C) – Reds/Sunnybank
8. Scott Higginbotham – NEC Green Rockets
9. Nick Frisby – Reds/GPS
10. Jake McIntyre – Reds/Sunnybank
11. Alex Gibbon – Southern Districts
12. Samu Kerevi – Reds/GPS
13. Karmichael Hunt – Reds/Brothers
14. Chris Kuridrani – Reds/GPS
15. Junior Laloifi – Sunnybank
16. Ryan Freeney – GPS
17. Marcus Vanzati – Souths
18. Feao Fotuaika - Sunnybank
19. James Moore - Easts
20. Criff Tupou - Brothers
21. Tim Smith – Wests
22. Henry Taefu – Sunnybank
23. Mika Tela - Souths