The New South Country Eagles will take their home match against Melbourne Rising to Tamworth on Sunday afternoon in a blockbuster clash in round three of the Buildcorp NRC.
The Eagles are soaring after thrashing the UC Vikings in Canberra last weekend while the Rising are also on a high after a come from behind win over Queensland Country.
Eagles skipper Paddy Ryan and Rising utility back Mick Snowden will return to their hometown for the clash in the only Buildcorp NRC match in Tamworth for 2016.
Young gun Kyle Godwin will play for the Eagles after being released from the Wallabies squad by Michael Cheika and will continue to develop his partnership with David Horwitz in the midfield as the look to help the Eagles keep their perfect record in tact for 2016.
However, Waratahs back Andrew Kellaway will miss the clash, he picked up a leg injury during training this week and is in doubt for the rest of the season; he is replaced by Angus Roberts.
Melbourne Rising have had an indifferent to start to their campaign, after a first round loss they produced an amazing second half comeback to overrun Queensland Country at home.
And while head coach Zane Hilton was happy with his side’s never-say-die attitude he’s wary of the hot Eagles in front of a parochial Country crowd.
“I don’t think it gets much harder than this; it’s going to be a huge test for us against the competition’s most in-form side away from home,” Hilton said.
“We continue to make progress in our game, and showed plenty of positive signs against Queensland Country last weekend, but we’ll need to bring nothing short of our best to Tamworth if we’re any chance against the Eagles.”
Hilton will continue with the experiment of Jack Debreczeni at fullback with Ben Meehan getting his second consecutive start in the number 10 jersey.
The Rising have lost Wallabies squad members Toby Smith, James Hanson and Lopeti Timani from last week’s clash but have been boosted with the inclusion of Sefa Naivalu on the reserves list.
NSW Country Eagles
Starting 1-15: Paddy Ryan (c), Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson, Ned Hanigan, Tim Buchanan, Sam Figg, Rowan Perry, Sam Ward, Jake Gordon, Andrew Deegan, Alex Newsome, Kyle Godwin, David Horwitz, Reece Robinson, Angus Roberts.
Reserves: Folau Fa’ainga, Jed Gillespie, Sam Needs, Ryan McCauley, Tom Cusack, Mark Baldwin, Sam Croke, Tayler Adams, Charlie Clifton, Tom Hill (two to be omitted).
Starting 1-15: Cruze Ah Nau, Pat Leafa Tim Metcher, Sam Jeffries, Steve Cummins, Alex Toolis, Jordy Reid, Harley Fox, Nic Stirzaker, Ben Meehan, Jonah Placid, Sione Tuipulotu, Tom English, Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano, Jack Debreczeni.
Reserves: Siliva Siliva, Tom Moloney, Tyrel Lomax, Rob Leota, Ikapote Tupai, Mick Snowden, Lloyd Johansson, Sefa Naivalu.
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