Rodda reflects on breakout year

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds have unleashed a promising crop of young guns in 2017, none more so than Izack Rodda.

The 202cm, 119kg lock made his debut in round one and hasn't looked back, stamping himself as part of the furniture in the Queensland engine room.

Izaia Perese may have summed the Ipswich Grammar product up best when he said he plays to his size as he makes every carry count and has a voracious appetite for physicality in defence, a skill set every successful team needs from its locks to thrive.

He has also started to take control of the Reds lineout, with usual caller Rob Simmons playing his final match in Queensland colours tomorrow night.Rodda has impressed from the get go this year. Photo: Getty Images"It's been unreal this year, for me," Rodda said.

"This year has been a great learning circle for me, playing with Simmo and Kane, they've helped me so much on the field and it has been unreal.

"There are a lot of young guys in the team but I just think that is great for the future.

"To get the young guys in now and turn them into better players, come the peak of their career you have a really strong team."

Rodda made his presence known on debut when he pinched a critical lineout steal late in the piece, a play which went a long way in securing one of Queensland's four wins.

That was their only tight win of 2017 prior to last Friday's fantastic finish.Izaia Perese and Rodda have been terrific finds for the Reds this season. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelRodda believes that match will prove to be a turning point as the Reds look forward to 2018.

"Everyone is excited for the last game, coming off a win against the Brumbies, which was unreal," he said.

"We had a bit of belief going into that game.

"We have been saying that we have to play for 80 minutes, that has been our struggle this season.

"There have been a few tight games in the last minute but the Brumbies game, everyone went out and played for 80."

Rodda's young second row partner Lukhan Tui was part of Michael Cheika's Wallabies squad in June and while Rodda missed a call up, he did train with the squad when they were in Brisbane.

That will drive the 20-year-old onto bigger and better things in the near future, now that he has a taste of Wallaby gold.

"It gave me a taste of what that level is and made me want to play harder and train harder to get in that team," he said.

"Hopefully I can earn a cap one day ."

The Reds take on the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium tomorrow night, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.


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