No preconceptions for 2017 Reds

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The 2017 Queensland Reds squad is all about competition, not reputation, coach Nick Stiles says.

When asked about the hooking pecking order with the injection of Stephen Moore, Stiles contended the suggestion that emerging front rower Andrew ready would be relegated to the bench automatically.

Stephen Moore will be putting the heat on Andrew Ready at Ballymore. Photo: Getty Images“[He might be] Number two in your eyes,” he said.

“We're bringing Stephen here for a lot of things but we're bringing him in for competition. You need depth across the board.

“I don't want to get to a selection meeting where we're picking 23 players that are available or there are only 23 players that are up to it.

“We've gone about putting together a group that provides competition and I want to see a young bloke in Andrew Ready step up to that challenge and take Stephen Moore on and improve through that opportunity.”

Andrew Ready had a breakout 2016. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile he stopped short of saying finals would be the only pass mark for a 2017 squad packed with Test players and big name recruits, Stiles said he wanted a winning mentality at Ballymore.

“I want to win, don't I?,” he said.

“ We want to create a culture at Queensland Reds that is all about winning football games.

“We're happy with the list that we've got, the hard work's got to happen now.

“How we bring an exciting group together will be a true test of where we end up at the end of the year next year.

“The way the conference system is set up and the way Super Rugby's set up,there's a real carrot there to win your conference and make finals and get a home semi and that's what we're aiming to do.”

George Smith will be among the more experienced players in Queensland next year. Photo: Getty ImagesSome of their most high-profile recruits have all tasted success, with Scott Higginbotham and Quade Cooper 2011 champions with the Reds, while Moore has played a Super Rugby final with the Brumbies and George Smith was a 2004 winner with the ACT franchise.

Stiles said their mentorship would be significant with a raft of U20s and schoolboys graduating to their senior ranks, including lock Izack Rodda.

“George Smith coming in and being here, [it’s] not only to attain success now but to work with...Michael Gunn, Adam Korczyk, Reece Hewat, it just means that they will be accelerated with their growth and that excites us.”