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Magpies ready to fly this season

Western Suburbs Magpies will be looking to kick off their Knock-On Effect NSW Cup campaign on a high when they face Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Sunday.

New coach Ben Gardiner has named a strong squad for the match, which will be played as the curtain-raiser to Wests Tigers NRL clash against the Raiders at 4:00pm.

The side features a number of NRL squad members, who will be ready to impress in the first game of the season after a big pre-season.

21-year-old halfback Jock Madden — who recently re-signed with the club on a one-year extension until the end of 2022 — will lead the side around, alongside five-eighth Zach Dockar-Clay.

A match-up to following in the match is the battle of the fullbacks between Magpies’ Zac Cini and Raider Caleb Aekins. Cini will be playing with confidence after an impressive pre-season with Wests Tigers, while metre-eater Aekins has 12 games of NRL experience and will be aiming to start his tenure at Canberra on a high.  

Another player to keep an eye on is Wests Tigers recruit Tuki Simpkins, who joined the club from North Queensland Cowboys at the end of last year. With a rugby union background, the youngster has a deadly offload — a feature he showed in Wests Tigers’ trial match against Manly Warringah last month.

NRL squad members Jake Simpkin and Alex Seyfarth will also feature for the Magpies this week, as well as 2021 Development Players Kelma Tuilagi, William Kei and Reece Hoffman.

For the Raiders, they have a number of familiar faces with NRL experience in their line-up, including Matt Frawley, Sam Williams, Emre Guler and Tom Starling.

For all live scores and coverage of the match, visit the Match Centre here.

WESTERN SUBURBS MAGPIES

1. Zac Cini
2. Allan Fitzgibbon
3. William Kei
4. Kiah Cooper
5. Reece Hoffman
6. Zach Dockar-Clay
7. Jock Madden
8. Tuki Simpkins
9. Jake Simpkin
10. Alex Seyfarth
11. Edenn Rogers-Smith
12. Kelma Tuilagi
13. Tom Freebairn

Interchange:
14. Joseph Taipari
15. Ky Rodwell
16. Austin Dias
17. EJ Lui
18. Israel Ogden
19. Tyler Field
20. Regan Hughes

Coach: Ben Gardiner

CANBERRA RAIDERS

1. Caleb Aekins
2. Albert Hopoate
3. Matt Timoko
4. Harley Smith-Shields
5. Semi Valemei
6. Matt Frawley
7. Sam Williams
8. Keaton Walkington-Meads
9. Tom Starling
10. Emre Guler
11. Harry Rushton
12. Clay Webb
13. Darby Medlyn

Interchange:
14. Brad Schneider
15. Adrian Trevilyan
16. Sila Tituiti
17. Caleb Esera
18. Elijah Anderson
19. Saiku Semisi Tapa