Former England U20s star Dan Lancaster will make his run-on debut for the Bull Sharks' first grade side against Souths on Saturday.
Lancaster will line up in the centres for the Indigenous Round clash at The Canal.
He joins Tyrell Kopua as the two new faces to the run-on side with George Blake and Spencer Jeans called up to make the trip to Christchurch with the Reds.
While Lancaster adds creative flair and professional rugby experience to the Bull Sharks, coach Grant Anderson said it was the battle between the two packs that could determine the outcome.
“(Souths) are a pretty solid rugby team. They have a good set piece and their scrum is quite dominant in the competition and we need to be playing our best footy on Saturday to beat them,’’ he said.
“We are expecting a tough physical game and we know we’ve got a fight on our hands.’’
Under Anderson the Bull Sharks have refined an expansive, attacking gameplan best suited for dry, fast fields that encourage ball movement.
However, consecutive weeks of games in torrential rain have forced them to adjust the way they play with a greater emphasis on territory and possession.
The forecast is for fine conditions on the Gold Coast on Saturday which could potentially rob Souths of their greatest strength.
However, Anderson has warned his side to play the game on its merits.
“We are a really dangerous team in attack and dry condition suit the way we play,’’ he said.
“A fine day could negate the set piece battle where they (Souths) would try to gain the ascendancy.
“But although it may not be raining, the grounds will still be heavy and wet after so much rain so we will need to play to the conditions.’’
Forward Jake Upfield said it was an unusual lead-in to the game because the Bull Sharks had not been able to complete their usual pre-game analysis of their opponents.
“It is a weird one. Souths, because of the weather, haven’t been able to play for a couple of weeks now so the footage we do have of them is not as fresh as we would like,’’ he said.
“So, there is a bit of mystery there.
“But they have always had a big, strong, confrontational pack and we need to be prepared for that.’’
The first grade, second grade and premier women’s matches will be played at The Canal while Colts, Colts 2 and 3rd grade will be held at the Shaw Street Oval, the home of the Yarrabilba Rugby Club.