Reds lock in Lucas until 2023 in latest long-term deal

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

The Reds have slotted the final piece into their long-term play for a Super Rugby premiership, signing young playmaker Isaac Lucas to a four-year deal.

And in a further fillip to the club, they have announced a sponsorship deal with Santos that makes the club's jersey one of the most valued brands in Australian rugby.

While they have a raft of stellar forwards and outside backs locked in, the Reds had lacked a genuine playmaker and the addition of Lucas was paramount to their future success.

The Junior Wallabies star - pegged by outgoing captain Samu Kerevi as "the best Lucas brother" - is being groomed as the long-term solution at flyhalf, a position that has long been an issue for the club.

Isaac Lucas has earnt a start at fullback for the Reds. Photo: Rugby AU Media/Stuart Walmsley

Lucas said staying was never in doubt. "Quite simply, Queensland means everything to me," Lucas said.

"I've lived here my whole life and I've been a Reds supporter since I can remember, so I'm just grateful to get the opportunity to spend another four years here."

While the Reds made a raft of signing announcements early in the off-season, locking the likes of Lucas's Junior Wallabies teammates Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson and forwards, Lucas's name was not among those early announcements.

And he was happy to get the deal - which includes a Rugby Australia portion - done before the start of the new season.

"It's good to get it done, Australia means everything to me so I'm just very glad to spend another four years here," he said.

Jordan Petaia

Lucas has become the 11th long-term signing for the Reds, joining Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Jordan Petaia, Tate McDermott, Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert, among others, in linking their future to Queensland and the vision of head coach Brad Thorn.

"Obviously we're quite young but it really does feel like we're building something special," Lucas said.

"I've played with most of the boys since I can remember in my rugby journey, so it really feels like we're building something special and now it's on us to provide next year."

Lucas also unveiled the Reds' new playing strip at the club's annual long lunch in Brisbane on Friday afternoon.

The strip includes thin white hoops on the sleeve, shorts and socks but sticks with the traditional maroon, a popular decision with the players.

Queensland Women's XV forward Millie Boyle. Photo: Rugby AU Media/Stuart Walmsley

Lucas will run out with Brisbane City against the Melbourne Rising on Saturday afternoon as his team attempts to win a NRC semi-final berth.

He has played the season at flyhalf under the tutelage of Reds attack coach Jim McKay, something he believes will be beneficial for his development.

"It's been good to work with Jimmy over this NRC period, he gives us great confidence in the attacking structures he provides, so working with him closely in this NRC period has been very beneficial for me."

Meanwhile, the Reds will have two teams next year, with the QRU board agreeing for the team previously known as the Queensland women's XV to also take on the Reds moniker.

Queensland women's fullback Lori Cramer is looking forward to taking on the Brumbies. Photo: Walmsley

The women's Super W awards were also made at the event, with Wallaroos winger Lori Cramer named the women's player of the year and Wallaroos forward Millie Boyle named the players' player.

The QRU also announced a long-term sponsorship deal with Australian natural gas company Santos for the back of their jersey, making it one of the most valuable in Australian rugby in a great turnaround for the previously besieged organisation.

The deal, along with the proposed redevelopment of the decaying Ballymore facilities - which won a funding commitment ahead of the Federal election - is a giant step towards helping the Reds turn around their finances.

The company will also sponsor the Rookies to Reds program, Super W team and Super 6 Schools competitions in a great vote of confidence in the sport in Queensland.

Queensland Rugby Union CEO David Hanham welcomed the news.

"This is the start of what will become a successful partnership with Santos, who are right behind our vision and strategy to invest in ensuring Queenslanders enjoy a lifelong connection with rugby," Hanham said.

"This is a significant sponsorship between the Queensland Rugby Union and Santos over the next four years."