For the third straight year, the Joondalup Giants and North Beach Sea Eagles will battle it out for the MND Awareness Trophy when they square off in Round 9 of the WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership at Admiral Park on Saturday.
The game aims to raise awareness for Motor Neurone Disease (MND), with both teams wearing special socks for the occasion.
NRL WA Operations Manager Tony Crowe praised the relationship between Joondalup and the MND Association of WA.
“The relationship between the Joondalup Giants and Motor Neurone Disease WA is one of the strongest in our game and is a major reason why this fixture is a success every year,” Crowe said.
“We love it when our game can give back to the community and help support great causes such as MND.”
The Sea Eagles are the current holders of the cup, having claimed a 34-12 victory in last year’s fixture and enter Saturday’s fixture as the form team in the competition having won their first seven games.
Joondalup enter the contest off the back of a 52-22 win over the Willagee Bears – a result which snapped a three-game losing streak.
Led by player-coach Gus Marshall, the Giants will look to use home advantage to knock off the impressive Sea Eagles, with John Hough’s men looking to win their eighth straight game.
In team news, Joondalup welcome back forward Nathan Searle from injury, while Brenton Scott and Sam DeFiddes remain sidelined.
Fullback Quinn Morgan returns to the starting lineup at the expense of leading try scorer Caleb Reedy who drops to the bench, while coach Gus Marshall retains his starting spot after making his season debut last weekend.
North Beach, on the other hand, have made three changes from the side who defeated the Fremantle Roosters in Round 8, with Tayla McGregor, Dave McCullough and the returning Greg Lingard replacing Eoghan Lofts, Jayden De Vorms and Sam Buckley.
In the competition’s other games, the Fremantle Roosters hosts the Rockingham Sharks whilst the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs return to action against the Willagee Bears.