FORMER Tamworth Pirate Mick Snowden will make his first appearance for the Emirates Western Force in Darwin tonight.
Snowden is one of 13 players named to make their debuts when a new-look Force outfit tackles the Brumbies for the Territories Cup.
It will be the Force’s first pre-season fixture and will see an overhauled backline run out that includes former All Black Alby Mathewson, ex-“Baby Bok” Sias Ebersohn, Waikato pivot Sam Christie, the Australian Sevens pair of Junior Rasolea and Ed Stubbs, former Hurricanes midfielder Jayden Hayward and Shute Shield stars Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Snowden and Corey Brown.
Half-back Snowden joined the Force this season after a “breakout season” for Eastwood last season.
Force captain Matt Hodgson will lead out a familiar forward pack featuring six Wallaby representatives, including off-season recruit Hugh McMeniman.
The pack also includes former Waratahs flanker Chris Alcock, NSW Country representative Rory Walton and ex-Melbourne Rebels rake Heath Tessmann.
Force head coach Michael Foley said tonight’s match is another key step in relaunching the side.
“This match is important as it gives us a clear starting point from which to begin building towards our season,” he said.
“I’ve been really impressed with the way our guys have approached the pre-season and maintained their standards throughout.
“We’ve introduced and worked on a new brand of Force rugby, the guys have completely bought into that, and Friday provides a first opportunity to test ourselves against a Super Rugby opposition.
“The influx of players we’ve had for this season has been well documented and this match provides a chance for this new squad to come together and play alongside one another for the first time.
“It’s important that we use these trials to build towards our first match of the season against the Rebels, and continue to build and develop beyond that as the season progresses.
“This pre-season’s been extremely productive for us and, after four months of training, these players are hungry for their opportunity.”
31-man squad: Chris Alcock*, Phoenix Battye, Corey Brown (Wider Training Group)*, Richard Brown, Nathan Charles, Sam Christie*, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Patrick Dellit, Sias Ebersohn*, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Jayden Hayward*, Matt Hodgson (c), Kieran Longbottom, Toby Lynn, Salesi Ma’afu, Alfie Mafi, Alby Mathewson*, Locky McCaffrey, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman*, Junior Rasolea*, Mick Snowden*, Winston Stanley, Ed Stubbs*, Heath Tessmann*, Chris Tuatara-Morrison*, Will Tupou, Rory Walton*, Sam Wykes. *denotes first appearance for Emirates Western Force