Bond University Queensland Country head coach Steve Meehan has named his side to take on the Sydney Stars at Mike Carney Toyota Park in Townsville this Saturday.
The Country side features five players who trace their roots to North Queensland including captain Ben Adams (Mackay), blindside flanker James Turner (Cairns), Pierce Fitzgerald (Townsville) as well as brothers Andrew and Michael Parker, who featured in the Townsville club Rugby Grand Final at Mike Carney Toyota Park for Townsville Brothers just weeks ago.
Meehan is looking forward to providing the Townsville Rugby Community with its first experience of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship.
“The team is really looking forward to Saturday’s game in Townsville. It’s a great opportunity to give North Queensland Rugby fans their first taste of the NRC,” Meehan said.
“We have two players in the squad in Andrew and Michael Parker, who are from Townsville and played in the local club competition this year, so they’ll be pumped for a home game.
“We also have a number of other players from North Queensland, so this weekend presents a unique opportunity for them to represent Queensland Country in front of family and friends who don’t usually get to see them play live.
“While we didn’t get the result in Perth, the team improved in a number of areas including our set-piece, attack and continuity play. We will continue to work hard and improve heading into Saturday’s match and I’m sure we’ll put on a show for the Townsville Rugby community.”
Meehan has made four changes to the match-day squad which travelled to Perth last weekend.
GPS lock Dan Gorman has been called into the starting line-up in place of Rubin Fuimaono, Gorman will start alongside Queensland Reds squad member Blake Enever for the first time in the NRC.
Cairns product and Souths stalwart James Turner returns to the starting back row in place of Mitch King, who moves to the bench.
In the backs, Townsville-born Pierce Fitzgerald will also move into the starting side on the wing, with Giles Beveridge moving to the bench, while their Brothers teammate Clynton Knox will return to the squad in place of Herman Porter in the reserves.
Ben Adams will captain the side once again after earning his first opportunity against the Spirit in Rockingham, while three-try flanker Jack de Guingand will once again start at openside flanker, in place of the injured Beau Robinson.
Seventeen-year-old outside centre Campbell Magnay has retained his place in the starting backline alongside Reds Wider Training Squad Player of the Year Sam Johnson in the midfield.
Queensland Country play the Sydney Stars at Mike Carney Toyota Park this Saturday, 11 October, at 3:00pm (AEST).
Ahead of the match, an open training session will be held at Mike Carney Toyota Park on Friday afternoon, 10 October, from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, providing the Townsville Rugby community with the opportunity to meet and interact with the Queensland Country players.
Bond University Queensland Country v Sydney Stars, Mike Carney Toyota Park – Townsville, Saturday 11 October, Kick off at 3:00pm
1. Haydn Hirsimaki (Sunnybank)
2. Ryan Freney (GPS)
3. Campbell Wakely (University of Queensland)
4. Dan Gorman (GPS)
5. Blake Enever (Reds/Easts)
6. James Turner (Souths)
7. Jack de Guingand (University of Queensland)
8. Ben Adams (Sunnybank) (C)
9. Sam Grasso (GPS)
10. Matt Brandon (Easts) (VC)
11. Pierce Fitzgerald (Brothers)
12. Sam Johnson (Reds WTS/GPS)
13. Campbell Magnay (GPS)
14. Tom Pincus (University of Queensland)
15. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi (Reds/University of Queensland)
16. Michael Parker (Townsville Brothers)
17. Feao Fotuaika (Sunnybank)
18. Andrew Parker (Townsville Brothers)
19. Sam Fattal (Easts)
20. Mitch King (GPS)
21. James Tuttle (GPS)
22. Clynton Knox (Brothers)
23. Giles Beveridge (Brothers)