Seven players with Super Rugby experience will take the field for McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship final this weekend.
Brisbane City head coach Nick Stiles has named his side for the inaugural grand final against Perth Spirit at Ballymore Stadium this Saturday, with just one injury forced change to the starting XV that defeated NSW Country Eagles 32-26 in the semi-final last week.
City centre Samu Kerevi has been ruled out due to a quad injury and will be replaced by Easts’ Queensland Premier Rugby-winning utility Jack Mullins, who was Brisbane City’s starting inside centre and opening try scorer in their win over UC Vikings at Suncorp Stadium two weeks ago.
Stiles said while Kerevi’s absence was disappointing, there was still plenty to like about the side contesting the final.
“Samu has had a strong presence for City all season, but this side has made its way to the final through the collective efforts of the entire squad and depth has been one of our strongest assets.
“Jack Mullins has a lot of experience in Premier Rugby, having captained Easts to a title in 2013, and has played inside centre for us previously and played well.
“The key for us this weekend is our attitude. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve worked hard and earned a home grand final and the guys are proud of that and excited for the opportunity to play at Ballymore again.
“Our season has been based on hard work and enjoyment, so I expect nothing less from them this weekend.”
Brisbane City boasts six players with Super Rugby experience in the starting lineup and one on the bench, highlighted by a Super Rugby-strength back row in Curtis Browning, Liam Gill and Jake Schatz.
“Our back row was outstanding in the semi-final. We were able to stop their flow on numerous occasions, so having those guys starting for us again this weekend will be a massive factor,” Stiles said.
The Brisbane City front row remains unchanged, with Easts teammates Pettowa Paraka at loosehead and Andrew Ready at hooker, joined by University of Queensland’s Sef Faagase at tighthead.
GPS’ South African work horse Marco Kotze joins captain Dave McDuling in the second row, with the Reds trio in the back row.
Nick Frisby has overcome a lower back complaint suffered in the NRC semi-final to retain his spot at starting scrumhalf, alongside Sunnybank’s Jake McIntyre at flyhalf.
Mullins is joined by Easts teammate Toby White in the centres, with Sunnybank’s Matt Feaunati on one wing, GPS and Reds winger Chris Kuridrani on the other and former Red and current Samoan national player Brando Va’aulu at fullback.
Brothers’ Matt Mafi, Souths’ David Feao and Phil Kite of GPS offer front row cover on the bench. University of Queensland skipper Tim Buchanan, who earned his Super Rugby debut for the Reds earlier this year, will cover second row, with club teammate Adam Korczyk supporting the back row.
University of Queensland centurion Will Thompson will back up Frisby at scrumhalf, joined by UQ teammate James Dalgleish as flyhalf cover and Sunnybank flyer Junior Laloifi for the outside backs.
The inaugural Buildcorp National Rugby Championship takes place this Saturday, 1 November, with kick off at 6:30pm (AEST). Tickets are available online here or at the gate. The match will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
Tickets start at just $20 for adults and $15 for concession for online purchases and $5 for juniors. Adults and concession tickets will cost an additional $5 if purchased at the gate (adults $25, concession $20).
A family ticket package is also available online for $50, which admits two adults and up to four juniors. As a special offer for the family package, juniors can redeem an exclusive Reds player wall sticker from the merchandise shop at Ballymore Stadium (while stocks last).
Fans are encouraged to arrive early, with curtain raisers starting at 3:30pm (AEST) as Ballymore plays host to the Kings and Queens of Pacific Rugby men’s and women’s finals. Gates open at 3:15pm (AEST).
There will be fun for all the family, with activities planned for Saturday, including a signing session with St.George Queensland Reds players, an opportunity for kids to meet Red Dog and Reds player mascots.
Fans will also have an opportunity to support competition sponsor Buildcorp’s efforts to raise funds for national charity Lifeline, with NRC Rugby balls being sold on the day. Brisbane City will also wear the Lifeline logo on their jersey sleeve, in support of the initiative.
As is tradition at Ballymore, fans will be allowed on the field following the trophy presentation of the NRC final.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City v Perth Spirit
Grand Final – Ballymore Stadium, Saturday 1 November
1 Pettowa Paraka – Reds WTS/Easts
2 Andrew Ready – Reds EPS/Easts
3 Sef Faagase – Reds WTS/University of Queensland
4 Marco Kotze – GPS
5 Dave McDuling (C) – Reds/University of Queensland
6 Curtis Browning – Reds/University of Queensland
7 Liam Gill – Reds/Sunnybank
8 Jake Schatz – Reds/Sunnybank
9 Nick Frisby – Reds/GPS
10 Jake McIntyre – Reds WTS/Sunnybank
11 Matt Feaunati – Sunnybank
12 Jack Mullins – Easts
13 Toby White – Easts
14 Chris Kuridrani – Reds/GPS
15 Brando Va’aulu – Sunnybank
16 Matt Mafi – Brothers
17 David Feao – Souths
18 Phil Kite – Reds WTS/GPS
19 Tim Buchanan – University of Queensland
20 Adam Korczyk – University of Queensland
21 Will Thompson – University of Queensland
22 James Dalgleish – University of Queensland
23 Junior Laloifi – Sunnybank