Brisbane City head coach Jim McKay has named his match day 23 to take on Bond University Queensland Country as the side looks to retain the Andy Purcell Cup in Gladstone on Saturday.
After a 24-19 win over NSW Country last weekend, City now sits in second spot on the National Rugby Championship (NRC) ladder and could consolidate their spot in the top-four with a win over their Queensland rivals this weekend.
McKay has made three changes to his starting side, with Dane Zander earning his NRC run-on debut after impressing in his first four games, while Josh Nasser and Ryan Smith have also returned to the starting pack.
St.George Queensland Reds playmaker Bryce Hegarty will potentially make his Brisbane City debut off the bench.
McKay said: “This weekend is a really important fixture for us as we get closer to the end of the NRC season.
“Each game is special in the NRC and certainly this one has extra significance playing against our Queensland peers.
“We’ve had a real go each week which gives us some momentum however that and more will be required against Country.
“Dane has really impressed us this season and he deserves his chance to start the game after some fantastic performances so far.
“Bryce’s inclusion is a timely boost for our squad and we look forward to seeing the contribution he can make representing City in a finishing role.
“Taking the match to Central Queensland will be a great spectacle and we can’t wait to get up to Gladstone and interact with the local community,” McKay said.
Zander and Nasser will pack down in the frontrow alongside the experience of hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa, who has scored three tries in his four appearances for City this season.
Smith reprises his Round 1 combination with Rob Puliuvea in the second row, while captain Fraser McReight, Adam Korczyk and Seru Uru will continue their partnership in the backrow.
Moses Sorovi and Isaac Lucas again make up City’s halves combination, as centres Teti Tela and Sefa Naivalu also look to build on their strong form from last week’s win.
After a man of the match performance last week, Nick Chapman will make his second appearance in the starting side at fullback, with Lawson Creighton and Jordan Luke taking their place on the wings.
McKay has also made a number of changes to his bench, as Sean Farrell, Brad Kapa and Hunter Paisami come back into the side.
Hegarty, Dave Feao, Rhys van Nek, Sam Wallis and Isaac Henry round out the remainder of the bench.
Brisbane City will take on Bond University Queensland Country for the Andy Purcell Cup at 4:00pm on Saturday 28 September at Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone. The match will be streamed LIVE via rugby.com.au and Kayo Sports and tickets are available via https://gladstoneentertainment.com/nrc-union-game/.