They’ve been hit by injuries in key positions, but it hasn’t dented the Canberra Vikings’ confidence they can cause a boilover on the road against Melbourne Rising on Thursday night.
Fresh from last week’s bye, the Vikings will start underdogs against an unbeaten Rising side stacked with Super Rugby talent that has won all five of its games by big margins.
Despite yet to play a first grade game in Canberra, teenage hooker Connal McInerney has been named to start after Lala Lam (head knock) and Mitch Wade (bicep tear) both suffered injuries in last week’s 37-all draw with Sydney Stars.
Winger Robbie Coleman has also been ruled out, with Australian Sevens player Lausii Taliauli coming into the starting side for the first time.
Tim Cree (head knock) will also be missing and has been replaced by Tom Staniforth. Despite the changes, winger Jerome Niumata insists the fourth-placed Vikings can prove the doubters wrong.
“Even though they’re writing us off, I’m going down with the mentality I’m going to win and do my best, and I expect that from my teammates as well,” he said.
Centre Nigel Ah Wong believes the side is yet to hit its best, and the Rising challenge could be the spark they need.
“I really believe we haven’t hit our potential, we’re going down there with a mindset we’ve got nothing to lose,” he said.
“They’re the ones who are undefeated, we’re going to give it a good crack.”
Canberra Vikings team: 1 JP Smith, 2 Connal McInerney, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 4 Tom Staniforth, 5 Jordan Smiler, 6 Jarrad Butler, 7 Sean Doyle, 8 Fotu Auelua (c), 9 Michael Dowsett, 10 Isaac Thompson, 11 Lausii Taliauli, 12 Rod Iona, 13 Nigel Ah Wong 14. Jerome Niumata, 15 Jesse Mogg. Replacements: 16 Michael Henry, 17 Joel Penders, 18 Les Makin, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Rowan Perry, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Matt Hawke, 23 Drew Southwell.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.