GLEN Innes’ Alex Newsome will make his NSW Country Eagles debut when they tackle defending champions Brisbane City in their National Rugby Championship opener at Sydney University on Saturday.
The Australian U20s rep has been named to start on the wing, with coach Darren Coleman looking to play an expansive and attacking style of football.
Gunnedah's Angus Roberts is also set to be injected off the bench, for what will also be his Eagles debut after previously playing for the Sydney Stars
Tamworth's Paddy Ryan was this week unveiled as the Eagles captain for 2016 but will miss Saturday's game through injury.
"I can't wait for the NRC to kick off. It a great initiative from the ARU and Buildcorp, that provides some of Australia's best rugby players a chance to represent where they grew up,” Ryan said.
“For me that's NSW Country, I couldn't be prouder to be representing my family and the rural city of Tamworth.”
Waratahs centre Dave Horwitz will lead the side in his absence, and is one of a handful of players boasting Super Rugby experience.
Up front, after an outstanding Shute Shield season with Eastwood, Sam Needs has been handed his first Eagles cap, and will pack down alongside Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu and Sonny Suatala.
Behind them, vice-captain Ned Hanigan will be looking to bring momentum from a strong club campaign.
The Eagles backline boasts a young, yet explosive pool of talent, headlined by fullback Andrew Kellaway, Horwitz, new Brumbies recruit Kyle Godwin and winger Reece Robinson.