Look to captain and flanker Dalton Papalii's return to have an impact for the Blues in their Super Rugby Pacific game against the Force in Perth on Friday.

While overcoming a determined assault from the Fijian Drua at the weekend, they were pressured in unorthodox ways and lacked the composure of their wins over the Chiefs and Crusaders in their preceding games.

Coach Leon MacDonald said, "Having Dalton back this week has been good because he is a driver of off-field standards and on-field energy, and we lacked a bit of that at the weekend.

"This is an important game for us to make sure we get that right.

MacDonald said the Drua offered something different than the Australian teams. 

"They are very different to all the teams. When you review the game, you have a blindside flanker putting a grubber kick on the edge through and it could have been chased down by a lock.

"The fact that they are so unpredictable, and the freedom they can play with, is unique to them. That was fun, and we enjoyed the challenge. There are a lot of areas we identified as not getting right.



"We didn't bring that intensity that we were really proud of for the previous two weeks.

"We weren't as aggressive in the tackle area or the breakdown. We didn't get off the line as much, and, on attack, we made too many errors.

"A lot of teams come to Perth, and it's a bit of a graveyard, so we won't be as lucky if we get it wrong for a second week in a row."

MacDonald said it was also great to have flanker Akira Ioane back in the selection mix for his first start of the season after recovering from injury.

"When you see him on the field, he's a real presence. He's a great athlete, and he's moving really well and excited about getting back on the grass. It's added some confidence to the team.

"He's a proven performer. Last year we saw some performances from him that were game-changing. Him at his best is as good as you can get in terms of his ball carries and his defensive work as well, which has been a massive growth area. 

"He's also a leader in his own way. He's a big part of the culture of the team. To have him back out there is huge for us," he said.

Wing Caleb Clarke will return after completing his suspension, and watching was not a comfortable experience for him.

"Every day he's been counting down to being available again, so he's pretty excited about playing this weekend," he said.

MacDonald said the game had been beneficial for the young members of the squad.

Prop Jordan Lay stepped up and showed how much he had grown as a player and gave confidence that he could step up when needed.

Anton Segner, who is at No8 in Perth, had a stunning contribution off the bench against the Drua.

His speed of development was highlighted in that effort, and MacDonald said that reflected how much he studied the game.

"One of the reasons we got him to the Blues is that he is very aspirational. He wants to be the best he can possibly be and he's surrounded by a lot of people that like that and are supporting him."