Kyle Godwin will be hoping to quash the spirit of his former side when the NSW Country Eagles return to Tamworth.
The centre played for the Eagles’ opponents at Scully Park on Saturday - Perth Spirit - the first two seasons of the National Rugby Championships, before joining the Country side last year.
“It was probably the best thing that ever happened, I had a great year,” he said.
The 25-year-old started in all nine of the Eagles’ games last season, his performances springboarding him into the Wallabies squad for the Spring Tour, and resulting in a first Test cap against France.
Subsequently he had little hesitation about playing with them again this season.
“I love representing them (the Eagles),” he said.
There was also a bit of a sense of unfinished business after losing the final last season, incidentally to the Spirit at Scully Park.
“It’s going to be a bit of a rematch. Obviously we’ll be looking to get one back on them. It’s definitely a sore spot for us,” Godwin said.
The final was Godwin’s second time playing in Tamworth, and he is looking forward to coming back.
“I love my trips out to Tamworth, they’ve always been memorable experiences on and off the field,” he said.
The region has already proved a successful hunting ground for the Eagles this season, recording their first win against the Canberra Vikings in Armidale last month.
That saw Godwin lining up against many of his Brumbies team-mates in what was his first game back from a long injury lay-off.
It also saw him form a mid-field partnership with Glen Innes’ Alex Newsome, with Newsome switching to outside centre.
“The combination is going well, he is a great player and had a great year at the Western Force,” Godwin said.
“He’s also had some great performances in the NRC.”
The Eagles arrive in Tamworth on Friday and will hold an open training session at Scully Park in the afternoon.
“Everyone in Tamworth is invited to come to the captain’s run at 4pm,” Eagles skipper Paddy Ryan said.
Both sides are expected to have some of their Wallaby contingent available for the clash, which is for the Eagles a must win if they are to keep their finals hopes alive.
They sit on just two wins.
“Unfortunately the season hasn’t started off the way we wanted it to,” Godwin said.
“But it’s a funny competition.
“There’s three more games if we win those we’ll put ourselves in a pretty good position.”
The Spirit though won’t be any easy assignment.
“Obviously we’re up against another pretty tough Super Rugby side,” Godwin said.
“Perth are going well. They’ve put some points on some teams.”
“We need to make sure we nullify them in the forwards and look to try and score some points through the backs.”
The whole NRC round will be aiming to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia Foundation.
“It’s for a great cause, and myself personally being able to play and train with Christian (Lealiifano) obviously it’s pretty close to home,” Godwin said.
“As we saw with Christian it’s a tough battle and a tough fight.”