NSW Country Eagles will be led by Tamworth's Paddy Ryan and also sees the return of another local, Mick Snowden after he missed last week’s clash against Brisbane City through injury.
Jake Gordon and Tolu Latu return from Wallabies duties and will be a boost for a NSW side eager to finish the season on a high.
Sam Ward returns to the second row while Sam Figg and Mahe Vailanu are joined by Nick Champion De Crespigny in a new-look back-row. No doubt it will be a physical clash against the Queensland outfit who are known for their strong front row.
NSW Country will be looking to make the most of their opportunities in attack after missing a number of scoring opportunities last week.
On Friday night NSW Country will host an open training session at Scully Park from 1700 and all local players are invited to join the team for a kick of the footy and a game of touch at the end of the session.
Local clubs Tamworth Pirates, Tamworth Magpies, Scone and Quirindi will start tomorrow with a club 10s competition from 1000 (AEST).
The NRC match kicks off at 1500 (AEST) on Saturday and will be broadcast live on FoxSports.
NSW Country Eagles have worked closely with the NSW Farmers over the years, so it was only fitting the NSW Drought Relief would be the club’s chosen charity to support. To make a donation to the NSW Farmers Drought Relief: NSWFarmersDroughtReliefFund
1. Matt Gibbon
2. Tolu Latu
3. Paddy Ryan
4. Sam Ward
5. Emmanuel Meafou
6. Nick Champion De Crespigny
7. Mahe Vailanu
8. Sam Figg
9. Jake Gordon
10. Rohan Saifoloi
11. Alex Gibbon
12. Apolosi Latunipulu
13. William McDonell
14. Denny Godinet
15. Jaline Graham
16. Charlie Abel
17. Cody Walker
18. Chris Talakai
19. Patrick Tafa
20. Alex Humfrey
21. Rory Suttor
22. Mick Snowden
23. Afa Pakalani
Wallabies return for Sydney
Sydney will draw on players who, between them, have played 162 Tests when they take on Melbourne Rising in their final match of the NRC season this weekend.
Head Coach Chris Whitaker has included Rob Simmons (90 Tests), Nick Phipps (69 Tests) and Curtis Rona (3 Tests) for the match in Ballarat. And add to that captain Jack Dempsey’s six tests, and that’s a total of 168 international appearances.
Simmons will partner his NSW Waratahs teammate Ryan McCauley in the second row, while the backrow is the strongest that Whitaker has been able to call upon this year with Dempsey teaming with Maclean Jones and Hugh Sinclair.
Nick Phipps will start at scrumhalf and is sure to add a lot of urgency at the breakdown.
Northern Suburbs’ reliable Harry Burey will wear the No. 12 jersey alongside Rona, while John Folau will get his first start of 2018 after coming off the bench on the Gold Coast last weekend.
Impressive Sydney University outside back Guy Porter will play on the other wing and Tyson Davis will get another crack at fullback.
Sydney tidied up preparations for Sunday’s game on Thursday and will travel to Ballarat on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday’s game will kick-off at 1300 (AEST). The game will be streamed live on FoxSports.
1. Matt Sandell (Sydney University)
2. JP Sauni (Northern Suburbs)
3. Shambeckler Vui (Southern Districts)
4. Ryan McCauley (Eastern Suburbs)
5. Rob Simmons (Randwick)
6. Jack Dempsey (Gordon)
7. Maclean Jones (Warringah)
8. Hugh Sinclair (Northern Suburbs)
9. Nick Phipps (Sydney University)
10. Will Harrison (Randwick)
11. John Folau
12. Harry Burey (Northern Suburbs)
13. Curtis Rona (Western Sydney Two Blues)
14. Guy Porter (Sydney University)
15. Tyson Davis (Warringah)
16. David Vea (Randwick)
17. Kiernan Rabie (Randwick)
18. Dean Dombous (Eastwood)
19. Connor Vest (Northern Suburbs)
20. Jack Hayson (Randwick)
21. Mitch Short (Randwick)
22. Connor O’Shea (Sydney University)
23. Latu Latunipulu (Randwick)