Brisbane City head coach Jim McKay has made six changes to his starting side to take on the Canberra Vikings in the nation’s capital on Saturday.
After a late call up to the squad, University of Queensland’s Ashton Watson will make his Brisbane City and National Rugby Championship (NRC) debut on the wing, with Wests backrower Conor Anderson potentially making his City and NRC debut off the bench.
St.George Queensland Reds frontrowers Ruan Smith and Brandon Paenga-Amosa have been named to return to the XV, while Michael Wood, Sam Wallis, Hunter Paisami and Lawson Creighton have also been selected to start.
McKay said: “There’s no doubt we’ll be challenged by the Vikings, they’re one of the competition’s best teams so our focus will be putting pressure on them and performing to our standards.
“After a loss to Queensland Country last weekend, they [the Vikings] will be looking for a response and we’ll have to play better than we have so far and close to our best, which is always our target.
“This game comes at a good time for us in our development throughout the season.
“It was a good test for us last weekend. Sydney didn’t go away and at 28-26 for a long time there it was a close game. We held our nerve and kicked away at the end.
“The NRC is very much a development program and a lot of our guys are developing and the competition is a very good way to support that.
“Connor and Ashton have been rewarded for good club form. Both came into our squad late but have been around the group for the last few weeks and have been training really hard so they deserve their chance, as do the other guys who have come back into the team,” said McKay.
Creighton resumes his role in the number-15 jersey after a stellar start to the season against the Fijian Drua, while Watson and Jordan Luke, who claimed a hattrick of tries on his Brisbane City debut last week, will take their places on the wing.
Paisami returns to start at outside centre, reprising his Round 1 combination with Teti Tela in the centres.
Isaac Lucas and Moses Sorovi will again take the reins in the halves following a strong showing in City’s 52-26 win over Sydney at Bond University last weekend.
For the first time in the NRC, Sorovi will play against his brother George Morseu, who has been named on the Vikings bench.
In the frontrow, Smith and Paenga-Amosa partner fellow Reds squad member Josh Nasser, as Brothers lock Brad Kapa and the versatile Adam Korczyk pack down in the second row.
After a man of the match performance against Sydney, captain Fraser McReight will look to continue his strong start to the season in the nation’s capital and will line up with Wood and Wallis in the backrow. Brisbane City face the Canberra Vikings at 2:00pm at Viking Park, Canberra on Saturday 14 September. The fixture will be shown LIVE on rugby.com.au and Kayo Sports.