Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) today launched ‘The Ballymore Kid’, an initiative for the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship in which one player within Queensland’s two squads will be guaranteed a contract with the St.George Queensland Reds.
The winner will also have the opportunity to study for a Diploma of Leadership and Management courtesy of QRU partner Capital Training Institute.
With more than 40 non-contracted players featured in Queensland’s NRC squads, there are plenty of candidates from BLK Queensland Premier Rugby who stand to win ‘The Ballymore Kid’ contract.
The winner of ‘The Ballymore Kid’ contract will be determined by a selection panel from within the Reds high performance unit and Queensland’s NRC coaching staff.
In 2014, 11 players were promoted to Queensland’s Elite Development Squad following the NRC season.
The introduction of ‘The Ballymore Kid’ continues to build on Queensland Rugby’s pathway model of securing the best young talent and offering them the best possible opportunities to develop their skills.
Brisbane City head coach Nick Stiles said he welcomed the initiative and thought it added another level of intrigue to an already enticing competition.
“The Ballymore Kid is a great concept. If you look at the Reds in 2015, we had 12 players in total from our two NRC squads make their Super Rugby debut,” he said.
“The NRC is about identifying and nurturing talent to help strengthen Rugby. The benefit we have at QRU is we govern both the grassroots and the Reds, so this provides us a unique opportunity to use them to help strengthen each other.
“There’s plenty of great candidates for The Ballymore Kid and I’m sure it will give the players and fans something extra to think about when watching the NRC this year.”
Bond University Queensland Country head coach Jason Gilmore said The Ballymore Kid had the potential to provide great opportunities for regional players.
“In 2014, we saw Campbell Magnay and James Tuttle progress through to the Reds squad and I’m sure in 2015 we will have a number of club Rugby players vying for the same opportunity,” he said.
“The Country side represents regional Queensland and we have a number of talented players in our squad who have come through the Queensland Country development pathway. For one of those players to secure a contract with the Reds leading into 2016 would be beneficial for country Rugby throughout Queensland.”
The Ballymore Kid winner will be announced by QRU following the conclusion of the 2015 NRC.