The ACT Griffins look set to turn in a strong performance against the NSW Cockatoos this Friday night when they face off for their annual clash at Canberra Stadium.
With the winners given the bragging rights as Kings of the country for another year, both sides will look to ramp up the intensity playing in front of a big crowd. The game has been scheduled as the Curtain Raiser for the Brumbies v Hurricanes match providing an extra element to the excitement of Friday Night Footy in the Capital.
Griffins skipper Gareth Clouston said the Cockatoos would provide his side with a big challenge but he was confident the ACT would raise to the stakes in front of their home crowd.
“It’s a big challenge taking on the best of the best from NSW Country, but we are pretty tight group and have the ability to knock these guys over,” Clouston said.
“To be playing at home is another bonus for the boys I know how much we love playing at Canberra Stadium.
“Fingers crossed there is a good crowd there on Friday night to cheer us on and stick around for the Brumbies game afterwards.”
In a 23-man squad, Tuggeranong Vikings have provided the most players with seven, while Gungahlin Eagles (five), Western Districts Lions (three), Queanbeyan Whites (three), Canberra Royals (two), Easts (two) and Uni-Norths Owls (one) followed in that order.
The ACT have managed to win the last two games against NSW Country. Last year at Viking Park they led the entire match to walk away 22-0 winners while in 2011 both sides scored plenty of points with the ACT sneaking home by three points, 41-38.
This is the first time this match has been played at Canberra Stadium since 2011. Recognising 75 years of rugby in the ACT, the Griffins have designed a traditional strip for the match with NSW Country, which consists of navy and gold hoops.
ACT Griffins v NSW Country Cockatoos
Canberra Stadium, Bruce
1. Sione Taula Tuggeranong Vikings
2. Mitch Lewis Eastern Suburbs
3. Les Makin Queanbeyan Whites
4. Gareth Clouston (C) Tuggeranong Vikings
5. Tim Cree Tuggeranong Vikings
6. Alex Harrod Western District
7. Xavier Duffy Gungahlin Eagles
8. Ben McGee Gungahlin Eagles
9. Edan Campbell-O’Brien Uni/Norths Owls
10. Sam Windsor (VC) Queanbeyan Whites
11. Andrew Barrell Gungahlin Eagles
12. Rodney Iona Tuggeranong Vikings
13. Matt Hawke Gungahlin Eagles
14. Jerome Niumata Tuggeranong Vikings
15. Brendan Tuaeki Tuggeranong Vikings
16. Michael Henry Tuggeranong Vikings
17. Ray Dobson Western District
18. Chris Cocca Eastern Suburbs
19. Tyson Tamihere Canberra Royals
20. Daniel Penca Queanbeyan Whites
21. Pedro Rolando Canberra Royals
22. Mitchell Connolly Gungahlin Eagles
23. Drew Southwell Western District
Coach: Craig Robberds
Assistant: Tom Morrison
Manager: Bob Brady
Trainer: Peter Johnson
Trainer: Darren Clunn
Physio: Dan Fasch