NRC: Thorn to play as NRC round five squads revealed

Thu, 22/09/2016, 03:04 am
Marty Cambridge
by Marty Cambridge
Brad Thorn will be wearing the players kit rather than the coaching one on the sideline this weekend. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley
Brad Thorn will be wearing the players kit rather than the coaching one on the sideline this weekend. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

The wait is finally over with Brad Thorn named to make his comeback to the playing field in round five of the Buildcorp NRC.  There's been a number of other changes as team's tinker with their line-ups ahead of the finals. 

NSW Country Eagles (1) v Perth Spirit (4)

Saturday 24 September, 1:00pm at TBC

Coach Darren Coleman has made a number of changes to his side despite being undefeated through the first four rounds.  Tom Cusack and Mark Baldwin will be the starting flankers, with Sam Figg away with the Aussie Sevens and Rowan Perry named in the reserves.  In-form flyhalf Andrew Deegan is also named on the bench with Tayler Adams getting his first crack at number 10.  

The Perth side has made five changes to their starting side for the top four clash.  They’ll be without hat-trick hero from last weekend, Luke Morahan who has been named in the Wallabies squad, allowing Manihera Eden to start at fullback.  Solid scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens will be rested for the clash, with Michael Ruru to partner Jono Lance in the halves.  Ben Tapuai, Brynard Stander and Hadleigh May have also forced their way into the first XV that includes Wallaby Ben McCalman for the second straight week.

NSW Country Eagles

Starting 1-15: Paddy Ryan (c), Tolu Latu, Sam Needs, Ned Hanigan, Tim Buchanan, Tom Cusack, Mark Baldwin, Sam Ward, Jake Gordon, Tayler Adams, Alex Newsome, Kyle Godwin, David Horwitz, Reece Robinson, Angus Roberts.

Reserves: Folau Fa’ainga, Jed Gillespie, Cameron Betham, Rohan O’Regan, Sam Croke, Rowan Perry, Andrew Deegan, Tom Hill.

Perth Spirit

Starting 1-15: Laione Mulikihaamea, Harry Scoble, Shambeckler Vui, Kieran Stringer, Ross Haylett-Petty, Brynard Stander, Hadleigh May, Ben McCalman, Michael Ruru, Jono Lance (c), Eric Vasukicakau, Ben Tapuai, Ammon Matuauto, Marcel Brache, Manihera Eden.

Reserves: Tom Sheminant, Nick McLennan, Jermaine Ainsley, Onehunga Havili, Russell Burges, Ian Prior, AJ Alatimu, Louie David.

Wallaby Ben McCalman will play his second game for Perth Spirit in 2016. Photo: Johan SchmidtStream online via

Western Sydney Rams (7) v Queensland Country (8)

Saturday 24 September, 3:00pm at Concord Oval

The Rams have made just one change to their starting side that lost to the UC Vikings last weekend.  Scrumhalf Waldo Wessels gets his first start for the year with Scott Gale set to miss the bottom of the table clash. Will Skelton will again start at lock after he wasn’t named in the Wallabies squad for the next two Rugby Championship games. 

Queensland Country have called on the big shoulders of Brad Thorn to help carry them to their first win of the year.  The All Black legend will make his long anticipated return to the field from the reserves after announcing he would be a player-coach in the 2016 NRC competition. Barnstorming prop Taniela Tupou has been recalled to the first XV, alongside halves pairing James Tuttle and Mack Mason. However, the side will be without Izaia Perese who has arguably been the most exciting player in the NRC so far this year. 

Western Sydney Rams

Starting 1-15: Matt Gibbon, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Lolohea, Will Skelton, Vaitoa Senio Toleafoa, Rhys Allen, Tupou Sopoaga, Tyrone Viiga, Waldo Wessels, Paul Asquith (c), Luke Smart, Mau David Minute, Apolosi Latunipulu, Roland-Keni Kotobolavu, Albert Nikoro. 

Reserves: Nathan Charles, Andrew Tuala, Jack Payne, Tom Alexander, Jodan Tuapou, Harrison Goddard, Mitchell Walton, Denny Godinet.

Queensland Country

Starting 1-15: Sef Fa’agase Alex Casey, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Phil Potgieter, Ted Postal, Maclean Jones, Angus Scott-Young, James Tuttle, Mack Mason, Liam McNamara, Duncan Paia’aua, Tyrone Lefau, Tom Pincus, Tom Banks.

Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Richie Asiata, Kirwan Sanday, Brad Thorn, Jack Cornelsen, Scott Malolua, Mitch Third, Matthew Gordon.

James Tuttle will have a point to prove after being dropped to the bench last weekend. Photo: Karen WatsonCatch all the NRC action LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS.

UC Vikings (2) v Melbourne Rising (5)

Sunday 25 September, 1:00pm at Viking Park

The Canberra side have switched a couple of things around as they look for their third win in a row in the NRC.  In the forwards, Josh Mann-Rea, Faalelei Sione and OJ Noa come into the starting side with Sione Taula and Dean Oakman-Hunt dropping back to the reserves while Robbie Abel will be rested.  While Nick Jooste will make way at fullback with Isaac Thompson returning from a groin injury.

Melbourne Rising have been forced to make a number of changes due to injury for this massive clash at Viking Park.  Cruze Ah-Nau and Ben Meehan have been ruled out, giving Tom Moloney his starting opportunity and forcing a backline reshuffle, with Jack Debreczeni moving from fullback up to flyhalf and Jonah Placid from the wing to number 15.  Meehan has been a stand-out for the side so far this season and is a big loss for a side looking for consecutive wins for the first time in 2016.

UC Vikings

Starting 1-15: Faalelei Sione, Josh Mann-Rea, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, Blake Enever, Sam Carter, Tom Staniforth, Jarrad Butler (c), OJ Noa, Joe Powell, Robbie Coleman (c), Lausii Taliauli, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Andrew Smith, Andrew Robinson, Isaac Thompson.

Reserves: Connal McInerney, Sione Taula, Ray Dobson, Dean Oakman-Hunt, Jordan Smiler, Brent Hamlin, Nick Jooste, Eli Sinoti.

Melbourne Rising

Starting 1-15: Tom Moloney, Pat Leafa, Tyrel Lomax, Sam Jeffries, Steve Cummins, Jordy Reid, Ikapote Tupai, Harley Fox, Nic Stirzaker (c), Jack Debreczeni, Tom English, Lloyd Johansson, Sione Tuipulotu, Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano, Jonah Placid.

Reserves: Siliva Siliva, Toby Smith, Fereti Sa’aga, Alex Toolis, Sione Taufa, Mick Snowden, Taiso Silafai-Leaana, Isaiah Leota.

Jack Debreczeni has been on fire at fullback but will switch back to flyhalf this weekend. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyStream online via

Brisbane City (6) v Sydney Rays (3)

Sunday 25 September, 3:00pm at Ballymore Stadium

The defending premiers season is on the line this week, desperately needing a win if they are to have any chance of making the finals in 2017.  They will have to do it without first-choice scrumhalf Nick Frisby who has been named in the Wallabies squad, giving an opportunity for promising 20-year-old Moses Sorovi to step up into the first XV.  Flanker Michael Gunn steps back into the starting side after overcoming illness, while Adam Korczyk was named in the reserves to play his first match of 2016 in a return form injury. 

The Sydney Rays will be hoping to bounce back from their first loss of 2016 against Brisbane.  Head coach Simon Cron has named Belgian international Alain Miriallakis on the bench while Cam Clark and Nick Palmer have both been ruled out indefinitely, requiring surgery after the bruising top of the table clash with the Country Eagles last weekend. Con Foley and Jack Dempsey have been named but will need to get through training unscathed tonight, while Will Miller will be rested this weekend with a foot complaint. 

Brisbane City

Starting 1-15: Pettowa Paraka, Andrew Ready, Sam Talakai (c), David Findlay-Henaway, Lukhan Tui, Luke Beauchamp, Michael Gunn, Isi Naisarani, Moses Sorovi, Jake McIntyre, Alex Gibbon, Patrick James, Toby White, Chris Kuridrani, Brad Lacey.

Reserves: Matt Mafi, Markus Vanzati, Feao Fotuaika, Criff Tupou, Adam Korczyk, Angus Fowler, Mitch Felsman, Jack De Guingand.

Sydney Rays

Starting 1-15: Rory O’Connor, Damien Fitzpatrick, Lawrance Hunting, Connor Vest, James Brown, Jack Dempsey, Michael Smith, Michael Wells, Matt Lucas (c), Angus Sinclair, Harry Jones Irae Simone, Con Foley, Josh Turner, Jonathan Malo.

Reserves: James Hilterbrand, Ezra Luxton, Alain Miriallakis, Adrian Hall, Chris Alcock, Dewet Roos, Lochie Creagh, Seb Wileman. 

Moses Sorovi will fill the big shoes of Nick Frisby for Brisbane City. Photo: Getty Images.Catch all the NRC action LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS.

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