Fitter, stronger, better: Queensland aim to go one better in Super W

Super W
by Emma Greenwood

THE increasing professionalism of the Super W has led to a fitter and stronger Reds squad heading into the second year of competition, vice-captain Lori Cramer says.

With half the squad made up of new faces this season, it's a new-look outfit that will attempt to avenge the heartbreaking extra-time loss to the Waratahs in last year's inaugural competition.

But Cramer, who hinted at how much the loss still stings the Reds when she spoke at the Super Rugby launch in Sydney this week, said it was a far fitter Queensland outfit that would take the field this season.

"We've had a lot more focus on strength and conditioning and in our gym and doing our fitness this year," Cramer said.

"Last year we had a focus on our game structure and getting our hands on ball, so this year we've had a lot more of that kind of semi-professional focus on that S & C (strength and conditioning) side of rugby which I think will benefit us.

"We've got a really fit pack this year."

The Reds will boast several Wallaroos, including Millie Boyle and Alisha Hewett, as well as Cobie-Jane Morgan, who has moved north to further her career.

But Cramer said it was almost impossible to compare the Reds of 2019 to last year's squad.

"We're a different looking outfit this year," she said.

"Almost half the girls are new or weren't involved last year, so I'm really excited to see what the new girls will bring.

"You can't compare us to last year because we're completely different, so I'm really excited for that."

Among the newbies is head coach Moana Virtue, a Wallaroos assistant and coach of the victorious Aon Uni 7s side Griffith University.

Virtue has whittled her squad down from more than 100 potential players at the start of the pre-season to the group of 30 who will be considered for Super W selection each round.

"The pre-season's been tough - as it should be though, it always should be harder than the game - and the girls are coming together really well and supporting each other trying to get through that phase," Virtue said.

"We're really proud of our efforts last year and it's important that we build on that."