NRC: City host Vikings in grand final replay

by Marty Cambridge

Brisbane City will take on the UC Vikings at Ballymore Stadium on Sunday afternoon in what is a replay of last year’s Buildcorp NRC grand final.

It will also be the second time the defending premiers put the Horan-Little Shield on the line in 2016 after successfully seeing off the challenge from the Western Sydney Rams in round two.

However, head coach Rod Sieb has made some changes to the side with Mitch Felsman rewarded with a starting spot after his double last weekend, while Patrick James has shifted from fullback to inside centre allowing Brad Lacey to take up the number 15 jersey.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend,” Sieb said.

“It’s going to be a difficult match, the toughest of the season so far, but these are the sort of challenges we get excited for.

“We know we need to improve on last weekend’s performance to get a win against the Vikings.”

Meanwhile Vikings coach Wayne Southwell has wielded the axe following his side’s dismal performance against the NSW Country Eagles where they leaked a point a minute for the first hour of the game.

Brumbies regulars Jarrad Butler and Joe Powell have been dropped to the bench while up-and-coming Nic Jooste has also made way.

It gives an opportunity for Tom Staniforth an opportunity in the backrow with Brent Hamlin and Robbie Coleman forming the new halves pairing.

“On the back end of last weekend, the guys that get a start this week performed exceptionally well,” backs coach Tim Sampson said.

The Vikings have one win and win loss to start the season and understand the significance of getting their season back on track at Ballymore.

“In a tournament like the NRC it’s very important to bounce back quickly and get a win,” Sampson said.

“Consecutive losses you find yourself down the bottom pretty quickly.”

Joe Powell has been dropped to the bench after the Vikings were hammered at home last week. Photo: Sportography.Captain for this week Robbie Coleman says the motivation is simple heading into the clash with Brisbane.

“We have to turn it around from last week, we were very embarrassed as a team on our home turf,” he said.

“What better way than to get back at last year’s champions and put in a performance that makes Canberra proud.”

The Vikings have also been boosted by the inclusion of Henry Speight on the bench. 

Brisbane City

Starting 1-15: Pettowa Paraka, Andrew Ready, Sam Talakai (c), Luke Beauchamp, Lukhan Tui, Isi Naisarani, Michael Gunn, Leroy Houston, Nick Frisby, Jake McIntyre, Alex Gibbon, Patrick James, Chris Kuridrani, Mitch Felsman, Brad Lacey.

Reserves: Matt Mafi, Markus Vanzati, Feao Fotuaika, Jeremiah Lynch, Criff Tupou, Moses Sorovi, Jayden Ngamanu, Jake de Guingand.

UC Vikings

Starting 1-15: Sione Taula, Robbie Abel, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, Blake Enever, Sam Carter, Tom Staniforth, Dean Oakman-Hunt, OJ Noa, Brent Hamlin, Robbie Coleman (c), Lausii Taliauli, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Andrew Smith, Andrew Robinson, Isaac Thompson.

Reserves: Connal McInerney, Faalelei Sione, Ray Dobson, TBC, Jarrad Butler, Joe Powell, Nick Jooste, Henry Speight.          

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