Days after being named the Shute Shield rookie of the year, Narrabri’s Will McDonnell is poised to make his National Rugby Championship debut.
The Sydney University inside centre has been named to start at 12 for the Eagles’ clash with the Western Force in Perth on Sunday.
All four northern products in the squad are set to feature as the Eagles kick off their 2018 campaign.
Tamworth’s Paddy Ryan will lead the side, and start at loosehead prop, while Glen Innes’ Alex Newsome will play at fullback with Tamworth’s Mick Snowden to come off the bench.
Newsome got his super rugby start with the Force, and previewing the clash, he said the Eagles are going to have to be on their game.
“I snuck back over to Perth a couple of weeks ago when I had a week of annual leave to see some mates and I know a fair few of the boys in that Western Force side so it will be a tough match,” he said.
“I think they’ve got a point to prove back playing against the Australian sides and after Word Series.
“And they’ve been together all year so we’ll have to been on our game and it should be an exciting match.”
This campaign will be his third with the Eagles.
“Obviously being from country NSW it’s always a good thing to represent this team,” he said.
“I got my first opportunity in professional rugby through the Country Eagles a few years ago so I always enjoy coming back and playing for this team.”
On what the goal is he said: “Eagles have been a successful team over the last few years,” he said.
“We probably underachieved last year. We had a good team and missed out on the play-offs so definitely got to be to hold the trophy at the end of the year.”