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Eagles without front rowers for NRC GF

AAP logoAAP 21/10/2016 Adrian Warren

Minor premiers NSW Country Eagles will be without two key front rowers and must neutralise one of their most influential former players in Saturday's National Rugby Championship (NRC) grand final.

The match in the NSW country city of Tamworth will throw up a first-time winner, with Brisbane City taking the first two titles.

Perth are through to their second season decider, having lost to Brisbane in 2014.

Wallabies Pek Cowan and Luke Morahan are among seven players from that beaten side, who will play on Saturday.

The Eagles will contest their first grand final at the end of a season which has produced plenty of tries, worth six points in the NRC.

The regular season encounter in Sydney between the two teams featured nine tries, with the Eagles scoring six in a 48-24 victory.

The Eagles boast a smattering of Super Rugby backs including former Spirit centre Kyle Godwin and NSW Waratahs Andrew Kellaway, David Horwitz and Reece Robinson.

With prop Tom Robertson and hooker Tolu Latu away on national duty, Sam Needs and Folau Fa'ainga will replace them.

Needs and Fa'ainga will pack down alongside Eagles captain and Wallabies prop Paddy Ryan, who is from Tamworth.

Those were the only changes to the starting side made by Eagles coach Darren Coleman.

His Perth counterpart Dwayne Nestor has made just one change to his run-on side for Saturday.

Five-eight Jono Lance, who played for the Eagles in the past two NRC campaigns and was their captain in 2015, has recovered from a tight hamstring, which kept him out of last week's semi-final.

Lance, who was the 2015 NRC player of the season, returns in place of semi-final man of the match Ian Prior, who drops to the bench.

Saturday's best player will receive the inaugural Phil Waugh Medal, named after the 79-Test Wallaby back-rower and former NSW Waratahs captain.

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