Five changes have been made to the Queensland Country starting side that claimed a one-point win over the Melbourne Rising in Townsville last weekend.
In the frontrow, Wests hooker Efi Ma’afu will earn his first start of 2018, seeing Alex Casey shift to the reserves, while Harry Wilson will make his starting debut at blindside flanker in what will be his third NRC appearance.
With Queensland Reds flanker Liam Wright ruled out for the remainder of the NRC with a hamstring injury, 18-year-old Tom Kibble, who was part of GPS’ Hospital Challenge Cup premiership side, will make his Country and NRC debut in the no.7 jersey.
In the backs, former Sunshine Coast junior Tate McDermott will make his NRC starting debut at scrumhalf, seeing James Tuttle shift to the reserves, while Filipo Daugunu will start on the wing in his first NRC appearance for 2018.
In the reserves, Souths enforcer Sunia Finefeuaiki is in line for his potential NRC and Country debut, having been named as backrow cover.
“So far we’ve had a solid start to the season, but results over the first two weekends indicate that we’re in for our biggest challenge this weekend,” said Seib.
“The Drua have recorded big scores against both Melbourne and Brisbane City, and they have attacking threats across the park. Defence will be key for us this weekend.
“We’re looking forward to heading to another Country region this weekend in Mackay. As a squad we talk about representing country Queensland as a whole, and the team had a great experience in Townsville last weekend.
“Our match forms part of the Mackay grand final weekend, with the local decider taking place after our match. We’re looking forward to getting involved in the local Rugby community and sharing what will be a massive day of Rugby with them.”
After the NRC clash between Queensland Country and the Fijian Drua, which kicks off at 1:00pm, Proserpine/Whitsunday Raiders and Mackay City will go head-to-head in the local Mackay Grand Final, kicking off at 3:30pm.