Palmyra prop Joe Savage will captain the Perth Spirit this Saturday when they take on the North Harbour Rays at Brookvale Oval for Round Five of the NRC.
Savage is an experienced Premier Grade player and has also played for the Chiefs in Super Rugby. Alongside Savage will be hooker Robbie Abel and Prop Oliver Hoskins.
UWA’s Corey Thomas comes into the line-up alongside Perth Bayswater second-rower Brent Murphy. Thomas will replace Rory Walton who unfortunately sustained a knee injury against the Melbourne Rising.
Up and coming Back-rower Richard Hardwick will move to blindeside flanker and Koteka will move to the openside. This follows their recent ‘Future Force’ scholarship, which was given to them earlier in the week. They will be part of a back-row combination, which includes Alex Rovira at Number 8.
"Joe’s a player with a lot of experience; he is a strong leader, is very respected within the group and will lead the team well on Saturday,” said Perth Spirit Coach Kevin Foote.
“The Rays had a good win over Queensland Country on the Gold Coast last weekend and they’re a team we have a lot of respect for."
Coming off the bench the Spirit will have Future Force hooker Harry Scoble and Cottesloe prop Alec Hepburn. Coming into the second and back rows from the bench will be Oscar Backhouse and Scott Stevens, who will be making their Perth Spirit debuts.
Cottesloe back rower Ross Haylett-Petty will also come off the bench most likely to take the number 8 position. Ross is a very strong up and coming player and his performance against Brisbane City before he got injured was outstanding.
Va’a Mailei will make his starting debut and will pair on the wing alongside Brad Lacey, who scored an impressive try last week. This will make up the back three with Dillyn Leyds at fullback. Luke Burton and Ammon Matuauto’s centre pairing remains unchanged.
Check out the squad here.
1. Joe Savage (Palmyra)
2. Robbie Abel (Cottesloe)
3. Oliver Hoskins (Cottesloe)
4. Corey Thomas (UWA)
5. Brent Murphy (Perth Bayswater)
6. Richard Hardwick (UWA)
7. Kane Koteka (Wests Scarborough)
8. Alex Rovira (Associates)
9. Justin Turner (Associates)
10. Zack Holmes (Associates)
11. Va'a Mailei (Palmyra)
12. Luke Burton (UWA)
13. Ammon Matuauto (Associates)
14. Brad Lacey (Wests Scarborough)
15. Dillyn Leyds (Palmyra)
16. Harry Scoble (UWA)
17. Alec Hepburn (Cottesloe)
18. Kaisa Reidy (Cottesloe)
19. Scott Stevens (Nedlands)
20. Ross Haylett-Petty (Cottesloe)
21. Oscar Backhouse (UWA)
22. Michael Ruru (Nedlands)
23. Davis Tavita (Nedlands)