East Coast Aces vs Central Coast Rays, preview


Venue & time

Carrara Stadium, Gold Caoast. Sunday August 26, 4pm (AEST).

Head to head

Debut clash

Walking wounded & team changes

The Aces say goodbye to inspirational World Cup Wallaby Chris Latham. Andrew Walker moves to fullback with Marshall Milroy coming into the starting XV on the wing. Talented teenager Quade Cooper takes over for the injured flyhalf Ben Lucas (corked thigh), while Watai Walker replaces skipper Lloyd Johansson (knee). Teenage lock Robert Simmons and number eight Josh Afu have been sidelined with niggling injuries. Luke Caughly comes in for Simmons while James Kriukelis starts at blindside with flanker Ben Mowen moving to the back of the scrum. Nic Berry takes over as captain.

The Rays have made three changes to the starting line-up beaten by the Rams last week, all of them in the forwards. Prop Nick Lah comes into the side on rotation policy for Ofa Fainga’anuku, Ross Duncan starts at openside flanker for the injured Jared Waerea-Hargreaves with Beau Robinson switching to blindside.


The Aces sparkled for an hour against the Tornadoes before taking their foot off the pedal to just get home over their fellow Queenslanders in their opening-round Mazda ARC clash. Last week, they were overpowered early against the Rebels before mounting an unsuccessful comeback.

The Rays looked the goods early in their opening-round clash against the Fleet before being overtaken in the second half. Last week's match against the Rams was more impressive – they were outplayed by the Rams particularly in the set pieces but still managed to fight their way back into the lead midway through the second half before some Kurtley Beale magic dealt them a second straight loss.

Who's hot

Evergreen back Andrew Walker starred for the Aces in their loss to the Rebels last week. He was dynamic in attack at will need to lead the talented but young Aces backline in Latham's and Johannson's absence. Rodney Blake was also impressive and will be keen to continue his resurgent form.

Rays tough-as-nails scrumhalf Brett Sheehan continues to play well for the Central Coasters while big number eight Jason Peseta put in an eye-catching display against the Rams last week as did enterprising fullback Peter Hewat.


East Coast Aces

1. Tama Tuirirangi,
2. Ole Avei,
3. Rodney Blake,
4. Will Munsie,
5. Luke Caughley,
6. James Kriukelis,
7. AJ Gilbert,
8. Ben Mowen,

9. Nic Berry (c),
10. Quade Cooper,
11. Henari Veratau,
12. Watai Walker,
13. Charlie Fetoai,
14. Marshall Milroy,
15. Andrew Walker.

16. Jade Ingham,
17. Ben Coutts,
18. Bo Paraha,
19. Dan Ese,
20. Sam Batty,
21. Brett Stapleton,
22. John Dart.

Central Coast Rays

1. Nick Lah,
2. Al Manning,
3. Aaron Tawera,
4. Cameron Treloar [c],
5. Chris Thomson,
6. Beau Robinson,
7. Ross Duncan
8. Jason Peseta;

9. Brett Sheehan,
10. Sam Norton-Knight,
11. Jordan Macey,
12. Sam Harris,
13. Ben Jacobs,
14. Andrew Smith,
15. Peter Hewat.

16. Alex Gluth,
17. Ofa Fainga'anuku,
18. John Adams,
19. Nifo Nifo,
20. David Harvey,
21 Viliame Ratu,
22. Jye Mullane.