Quade Cooper and Curtis Browning will make their McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City debuts this Sunday when they take on Bond University Queensland Country at Ballymore Stadium.
Both are returning from injury, in a welcome boost for the first all-Queensland derby of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship.
Cooper will make his return via the reserves bench, in his first game since sustaining an AC joint injury in May. Browning will start at blindside flanker, after missing the first four games due to a Grade 1 AC joint injury suffered in the Premier Rugby final.
Brisbane City head coach Nick Stiles welcomed the return of two experienced members of the St.George Queensland Reds, with Cooper boasting more than 100 caps for Queensland.
“It’s going to be good to get a guy like Quade back. He brings a lot of experience to a side, but we won’t be expecting him to click into gear right away, considering he’s been out for 22 weeks,” Stiles said.
“As for Curtis, it’s great to see him back. He was named as our captain before the season began, so when he went down with injury in the Premier Rugby Grand Final he was shattered. To have him back and the qualities that he brings will be great.
“Dave McDuling will retain the captaincy this week. He’s done a fantastic job up until this point. At this stage we just want Curtis to focus on playing his best for the team.”
Brisbane City boasts a strong lineup for the match, featuring nine members of the Reds’ main squad.
Stiles has made three changes to the starting lineup which defeated NSW Country Eagles 34-26 in Lismore two weeks ago.
Easts’ loosehead prop Pettowa Paraka returns for his fourth start, with South’s David Feao shifting to the bench. Browning takes the place of University of Queensland teammate Adam Korczyk. In the backs, Nick Frisby returns to the starting lineup for his fourth start. Frisby has been in fine form for City, but shifted to the bench last match to allow returning Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia more match time.
This weekend’s match features added incentive for both sides, as Queensland Rugby announced earlier this week they would be competing for The Andy Purcell Cup – named after the late QRU Life Member who graced the game with more than 50 years of service – first as a player, then a referee, a coach and also as an administrator.
The newly named Andy Purcell Cup will be contested annually by Brisbane City and Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship, adding extra meaning to every fixture between these two historic sides.
While this is the first NRC match of its kind, Brisbane City and Queensland Country representative matches have a lengthy history in Queensland Rugby. The first recorded match between the two sides was at a Country Week carnival in 1902.
Brisbane City will host an open training session at Ballymore Stadium today from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, with fans invited to come along to meet the players.
Brisbane City and Queensland Country face off this Sunday, 28 September, at Ballymore Stadium at 3:00pm. As is tradition with matches at Ballymore, spectators will be allowed onto the hallowed turf following the match.
The match will also be live streamed at www.redsrugby.com.au, featuring guest commentary from injured Reds prop Ben Daley.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City v Bond University Queensland Country
Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane
1 Pettowa Paraka – Reds WTS/Easts
2 Andrew Ready – Reds EPS/Easts
3 Sef Faagase – Reds WTS/University of Queensland
4 Tim Buchanan – Reds WTS/University of Queensland
5 Dave McDuling (C) – Reds/University of Queensland
6 Curtis Browning – Reds/University of Queensland (Brisbane City/NRC debut)
7 Liam Gill – Reds/Sunnybank
8 Jake Schatz – Reds/Sunnybank
9 Nick Frisby – Reds/GPS
10 Jake McIntyre – Reds WTS/Sunnybank
11 Lachie Turner – Reds/Easts
12 Samu Kerevi – Reds/GPS
13 Toby White – Easts
14 Chris Kuridrani – Reds/GPS
15 Brando Va’aulu – Sunnybank
16 Matt Mafi – Brothers
17 David Feao – Souths
18 Sam Talakai – Sydney University
19 Marco Kotze – GPS
20 Chazz Mahina – Sunnybank
21 Jack Mullins – Easts
22 Quade Cooper – Reds/Souths (Brisbane City/NRC debut)
23 Junior Laloifi – Sunnybank
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