National Rugby Championship side Melbourne Rising have announced their full playing squad for the 2014 NRC competition.
The squad is littered with current members of the Rebels Super Rugby squad, as well as players in the local competition.
Damaging backrower Scott Higginbotham is the name that fans will be most familiar with, along with recently capped Wallaby lock Luke Jones, who was impressive in a largely unsuccessful Rebels side this year.
Rising will also be strong up the middle, with established centre Mitch Inman and former Reds and Rebels player Lloyd Johansson forming the pairing.
Tom English and Jack Debreczeni will be close to certain starters in the back three, while Pat Leafa and rangy lock Cadeyrn Neville are two regular starters for the Rebels in the squad.
Coach Sean Hedger believes has backed his squad to cause some problems in the new competition, and is pleased with the final make-up.
“We’ve had the opportunity to watch these local players as part of the extended training squad, and are very pleased with the abilities of those selected,” Hedger said. “Indeed, we have had to leave out a number of players who really impressed us.
“Selecting the final squad was a difficult task, however we are confident that the Rebels and Dewar Shield players selected are all more than capable of being a major force in this competition. It’s a wonderful opportunity for every member of the squad, and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Not all the players from the Rebels squad have been allocated to Melbourne Rising, with many moving across state borders to other franchises.
They also got halfback Nic Stirzaker to model the new jersey:
Stay tuned on The Roar as we bring you all the squads for the 2014 NRC competition as they are announced.
Full Melbourne Rising squad for NRC 2014:
Scott Higginbotham (Back rower, Harlequin/Melbourne Rebels)* Allocated Wallaby
Luke Jones (Lock, Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)* Allocated Wallaby
Cruze Ah-Nau (Prop, Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
Paul Alo-Emile (Prop, Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
Frank Amituanai (Lock, Footscray)
Greg Bauer (Hooker, Box Hill)
Jack Debreczeni (Flyhalf, Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
Tom English (Wing, Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
Angus Hamilton (Lock, Harlequin)
Shane Imo (Flyhalf, Footscray)
Mitch Inman (Centre, Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels)
Sam Jeffries (Lock, Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
Lloyd Johansson (Centre, Harlequin)
Joe Kamana (Wing, Moorabbin)
Rennie Lautolo-Molimau (Fullback, Endeavour Hills)
Pat Leafa (Hooker, Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels)
Sean McMahon (Back rower, Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
Sefanaia Naivalu (Centre, Box Hill)
Martin Naufahu (Flyhalf, Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
Cadeyrn Neville (Lock, Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
OJ Noa (Back rower, Harlequin)
Junior Paila (Scrumhalf, Endeavour Hills)
Reuben Rolleston (Back rower, Endeavour Hills)
Fereti Sa’aga (Prop, Melbourne Uni)
Tom Sexton (Hooker, Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
Pom Simona (Back rower, Harlequin)
Finbar Simpson (Prop, Melbourne)
Toby Smith (Prop, Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
Nic Stirzaker (Scrumhalf, Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
Sione Taufa (Back rower, Harlequin/Melbourne Rebels)
Lopeti Timani (Back rower, Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
Tui Tuiatua (Prop, Moorabbin)
Telusa Veainu (Wing, Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels)
Coach: Sean Hedger