Defending premiers the Woden Valley Rams take on the Yass Magpies in our Match of the Round as the Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup commences this weekend.
Match of the Round - Woden Valley Rams v Yass Magpies
3pm, Sunday April 7, Phillip District Oval
Both sides have new coaches at the helm as Lincoln Withers and Cameron Hardy look to secure their first wins at Woden and Yass respectively.
After leading his junior club to premiership glory as halfback, Withers takes on a playing-coach role due to Ash Barnes’ promotion to coach the Raiders Under 20’s.
Kosta Posantzis gets the nod at hooker, although Adam Lucas could come into the side after he plays for Monaro in the Country Championships Final alongside Rams teammates Harry Van Dartel, Michael Geiger and Cody Hodge.
Country NSW U23’s forward Ron Leapai and joint Les McIntyre Medalist Michael Gilmour are significant losses to Woden’s pack but the availability of Tyson Hodge, Solomone Kaufusi and the return of Steven Ferry will help mitigate that loss.
Yass have recruited strongly for their centenary year and boast a fearsome forward pack with Atu Tupou, Noa Vanisi and Phaebian Antonio joining from the Tuggeranong Bushrangers.
Newly appointed first grade captain Willie Peace is joined in the centres by new recruit David Faaeteete as Yass look to win at Phillip for the second year running.
The Magpies will be looking for their new look spine to fire early as Carl Johnson returns to his former side.
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs v Queanbeyan Kangaroos
2:15pm, Sunday April 7, Workers Arena
Mitch Cornish will play for his junior club for the first time since 2011 as he’s joined by his brother’s Tyler and Nick.
The eldest of the three brothers lines up at halfback after returning home after a two year stint with the Sydney Roosters.
The Queanbeyan Kangaroos have plenty of youth in their side as Tre Williams and Lachlan Cooper pair up in the halves and will look to back up from the Monaro Country Championships Final.
Kangaroos head coach Aaron Gorrell will begin his tenth year in the role and will be looking start the year brightly in Goulburn.
Tuggeranong Bushrangers v West Belconnen Warriors
3pm, Sunday April 7, Greenway
After using the off season to recover from an ACL injury, former Canberra Raider Jarrad Kennedy has been named to start in the second-row for the Tuggeranong Bushrangers.
New coach Jarrad Teka takes over the reigns from Justin Giteau with a new look squad as they try and start their season on high.
West Belconnen also have a new coach as Adam Peters returns to the side he won the 2007 premiership as captain-coach.
Brent Crisp and Bobby Roberts line up in the halves as the Warriors look to make an early statement in 2019.
Queanbeyan Blues v Belconnen United Sharks
3pm, Sunday April 7, Seiffert Oval
Now in his third season as captain-coach of the Queanbeyan Blues, Terry Campese will be aiming to start this campaign with a win at Seiffert Oval.
Monaro representatives Josh Stuckey, Zac Patch, Nicholas Halalilo and Isaiah Latu have all been named to play pending they get through Saturday’s Country Championships Final unscathed.
The Belconnen United Sharks will be looking to improve after only claiming a draw last season. That result occurred at Seiffert Oval as they claimed a 22-22 draw against the Blues.
Former Canberra Raiders Glen Buttriss and Sam Mataora are named to make their first appearances for the Sharks and will add plenty of quality to the side.