Competition for spots within the Melbourne Rebels squad has given coach Alana Thomas some pleasant headaches ahead of the first Super W round.
Thomas' squad of 23 is full of fresh faces for the opening clash against the Queensland Reds at Box Hill Rugby Union Club on Sunday.
The Melbourne Rebels line-up features sixteen new players, among them are nine debutants.
“It was tough in a few positions and others we had a couple of players unavailable due to injury, but overall, it is nice to have a few tough calls to make,” she said.
“It shows the depth we have in our squad.”
Among Thomas new contingent are Alice Tonumaivoa, Ash Marsters, Robinson and Fagalilo, are her fan favourites to watch out for in Sunday’s clash against the Queensland Reds women.
“May Sa’aga is coming along nicely and has improved throughout the program and in trials,” Thomas said.
“In the backs, Tauala Hunt has impressed as an experienced player making her first Super W team and I am happy with her progress and maturity directing the team around.”
Leading them around the park in their Super W season are Co-Captains Sharlene Fagalilo and Meretiana Robinson who will be looking to break the clubs losing streak after going through last season winless.
“You always want to win, no one goes out there expecting to lose so it is a combination of both,” Thomas said.
“We have a great opportunity coming off two trials and knowing where we are at with our game.
“I think we’ve taken some big strides forward from last year and we are going to have a real crack at this game.”
Queensland Women's XV may have 10 new faces in its squad for the Super W season-opener against the Rebels but the team is arguably much stronger than the one that suffered an agonising extra-time loss in last year's final.
Head coach Moana Virtue welcomes 13 players back from her inaugural squad, but the Queensland women have added significant international experience to a team determined to gain another shot at title glory.
Wallaroos Alisha Hewett and Millie Boyle, as well as Scottish product Eilidh Sinclair are among six uncapped players in the forwards, while former NSW scrumhalf Cobie-Jane Morgan and Brumbies centre Cecilia Smith add backline depth.
Highlighting their embarrassment of riches, Queensland has named Wallaroos Ivy Kaleta, Hana Ngaha, Kiri Lingman and new Australia Sevens representative Samantha Treherne on the bench.
Lingman was officially named Queensland captain yesterday and showed off the team's jersey after the announcement of St George Bank as the team's major partner.
Virtue has also selected fullback Lori Cramer as vice-captain and with Lingman set to come off the bench in Round 1, Cramer will captain the side against the Rebels.
"Kiri has a great Rugby brain, she brings a great amount of knowledge to the side, while Lori is massive for team culture and has a great work ethic," Virtue said.
"We have a number of key leaders within the group but both Kiri and Lori will work well together to guide the team both on and off the field."
Already the naming rights partner of the Reds, St George extended the relationship to the women's XV ahead of the second Super W season.
Cathy Yunken, general manager at St George Group Business Bank, said inclusiveness and diversity was part of the organisation's fabric.
"We were the first bank in Australia to have a female CEO, so we are of course very proud to join the QRU and invest in the acceleration of women's sport across Australia," Yunken said.
The Queensland women's XV take on the Rebels women on Sunday, February 24 at Box Hill Rugby Club GIO Stadium kicking off at 3:00pm AEDT, LIVE on Kayo Sports and streamed on RUGBY.com.au.
1 Janita Kareta
2 Sharlene Fagalilo
3 Titilia Yabaki
4 Georgia Bradbery
5 May Sa'aga
^ Brooke Moselen
7 Alice Tonumaivao
8 Carmen Landkauf
9 Wynonah Conway
10 Tauala Hunt
11 Tyra Boysen-Auimatagi
12 Tangata Tupou
13 Courtney Frankl
14 Belle Hunt
15 Meretiana Robinson
16 Ashley Marsters
17 Faith Masina
18 Tuputausi Sae
19 Tiarah Minns
20 Yvonne Callaghan
21 Jessie Treherne
22 Liana Pritchard-Matamua
23 Georgia Page
1 Liz Patu
2 Averyl Mitchell
3 Christina Sekona
4 Alisha Hewett
5 Saxon Campbell
6 Millie Boyle
7 Eilidh Sinclair
8 Shannon Mato
9 Cobie-Jane Morgan
10 Lavinia Gould
11 Ivania Wong
12 Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea
13 Cecilia Smith
14 Alana Elisaia
15 Lori Cramer (C)
16 Ivy Kaleta
17 Ana Fotu
18 Hana Ngaha
19 Vetekina Aho-Fangaloka
20 Kiri Lingman
21 Asako Ono
22 Eseta Aho-Fangaloka
23 Samantha Treherne