IN DEFENCE: Sunshine Coast Falcons at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
IN DEFENCE: Sunshine Coast Falcons at Sunshine Coast Stadium. Warren Lynam

Falcons determined to muscle up for top-of-table clash

RUGBY LEAGUE: Sunshine Coast backrower Chris Lewis says the Falcons must rise to the occasion and muscle up against a physical Easts outfit in their top-of-their-table clash at Bokarina on Saturday.

The two Melbourne Storm feeder clubs, unbeaten through five rounds, will collide in a highly-anticipated curtain raiser to the region's first NRL game, featuring the Rabbitohs and Warriors.

"It should be a big game. We're pretty excited for it and I'm sure they'll be up for it and there will be a lot of people there for it," Lewis said.

"We play reasonably similar styles (because) we both follow Melbourne's plan."

Lewis said the hosts needed to keep a tight leash on their opponents.

"They're a very physical team through the middle," he said.

"They get out and run a lot off their hooker. They play right through the middle of the field, so we'll have to match them through the middle.

"We've got big blokes like Darryn Schonig in the middle who have been playing good footy for us so we'll have to step up and match their fire power through the middle."

Both teams boast the same for-and-against differential.

"We know that if we go out and play our best footy we have the personnel to win games ... but Smithy (coach Eric Smith) has been on to the whole squad not to get complacent."

The Falcons and Tigers will have a selection of Storm talent in their ranks.

Ryan Papenhuyzen, who has played 17 games for the former in 2018 and 2019, made his NRL debut last weekend and was named in Melbourne's squad for this weekend. "He's a very good footballer," Lewis said. "It would be great to have him back but we all hope he stays up there and does his best."

FALCONS: N Hynes, S Earl, J Olam, S Moceidreke, J Reuben, C Johns, T Murphy, M Cordwell, H Grant, D Schonig, J Stimson, C Lewis, D Hogan (c). Interchange: S Burns, L Roe, T Faasuamaleaui, D Dole.