Paia'aua, Ready to skipper QLD NRC sides

by Sam Phillips

Andrew Ready and Duncan Paia'aua will be thrust into leadership roles this NRC season, with the pair named captain of Brisbane City and Queensland Country, respectively.

Ready has been a fixture in City teams that claimed the first two NRC titles, his work for those teams earning him a regular spot as the starting Reds hooker in 2016.

That was no longer the case this year, though, with the arrival of Stephen Moore, the emergence of Alex Mafi and some disciplinary issues plaguing his season but with Moore's career reaching its denouement, Ready's resume puts him firmly in the box seat as Queensland looks for its next long term hooker.

This nod is validation of that from new City coach Mick Heenan.

“We looked at a number of factors," Heenan said.

"Andrew is well respected within the group and his attention to detail so far in training has been great.Ready has been a regular in the first three City seasons. Photo: Getty Images“We think he’s got a point to prove in the NRC after the year he’s had and I’m expecting him to respond to the responsibility."

Ready, in a statement, said he was "extremely excited" to be named skipper.

"I want to lead from the front and set a good example for the club guys coming through,” he said.

“I’m a big believer that good leaders create leaders, so I’ll be encouraging everyone to speak up and I want to ensure that Brisbane City is a really open environment."

Paia'aua is viewed as a young leader amongst a Reds team filled with experience, having made the inside centre jersey his own this season.Paia'aua has made the Reds inside centre gig his own in 2017. Photo: Getty ImagesHe, along with new coach Brad Thorn, will be tasked with dragging Country from the cellar they have occupied since the NRC's inception.

"Duncan has showed strong leadership qualities and has the respect of the staff and playing group," Thorn said.

“(Assistant coach) Paul Carozza and I feel he has matured well over the last couple of seasons and he grew throughout the 2017 Super Rugby season.

“He’s a proud Rockhampton man and representing Country means a lot to him.

"Duncan has been part of the Queensland Country squad since the first year of the NRC and although the side hasn’t had a great deal of success, he is passionate about driving improvement and results.”