A 35-year-old mother of five, Australian rugby league representative and former Queensland captain have been named in the Reds' 30-woman Super W squad this morning.
While Queensland will be without Wallaroos forward Millie Boyle for most of the season due to a back injury and have Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea and Samanatha Treherne pushing to be included in Australia's Olympic sevens squad, they have been bolstered by the return of several players and addition of new faces.
Prop Hilisha Samoa will make her return to rugby after taking time out to have her fifth child and will bolster a Reds front row that already includes Wallaroos Liz Patu and Christina Sekona.
While she has not played since the 2017 World Cup, Samoa's experience will be invaluable to the Reds, given her efforts in that tournament saw her named the Australian women's XVs player of the year.
Former captain Kirby Sefo, who led the side in 2018, will return to bolster the back row in Boyle's absence, while Canadian international Gabby Senft is another loose forward of note, as well as Natassja Purontakanen, who missed out on last year’s campaign due to a knee-injury.
Having played in the seven jersey in the 2018 Super W grand final, former flyhalf Lavinia Gould will also shift into the backrow for the 2020 campaign.
Jillaroo Zahara Temara, who played for Queensland in the inaugural Super W campaign, returns to the squad having spent time playing for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL W competition.
Newcomer Hasting Leiataua, who has represented Auckland in New Zealand provincial rugby as well as playing in Japan, has made the move to Brisbane ahead of the Super W season and will battle Temara for the starting no.10 jersey.
At halfback, 17-year-old Destiny Brill, who stared for Queensland at the 2019 National Youth Sevens, has been named alongside the experienced Cobie-Jane Morgan and Ayane Hirata, while Wallaroos squad member Asako Ono is in the wider squad, recovering from a knee injury.
Having missed the 2019 Super W season through injury, Wallaroos squad member Sarah Riordan returns for 2020 alongside newly capped Test player and Australian Sevens squad member Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, with Far North Queensland product Hagiga Mosby, who has previously represented Australia at the past two Oceania Sevens events in 2018 and 2019 also in the running for a centre spot.
In the outside backs, former Rugby WA women's player Courtney Hodder - a standout in the inaugural Super W season who missed last year's campaign with injury - will join the established Lori Cramer, Samantha Treherne, Alana Elisaia and Ivania Wong.
Reds head coach Moana Virtue said she had been working with a squad of as many as 50 players since November and while it was tough to narrow the final squad to 30, she was confident she had a solid and competitive outfit.
“The interest in the competition continues to build year-on-year, with a large contingent of players from clubland trialling for the squad," Virtue said.
“Each year we continue to unearth new talent and I’m excited to see what our players can achieve both collectively and individually this coming season.
“So far within the Super W competition we’ve made the grand final and pushed NSW on both occasions, but we want to bring the Super W trophy to Queensland for the first time and our squad will be focused on that goal in 2020.”
As well as the squad of 30 players, a further group of seven players have been named in the wider training squad.
The Reds have a bye in the opening round of the competition and will begin their 2020 Super W campaign against Rugby WA in Perth on February 22.
Queensland Reds squad
Bree-anna Cheatham - Wests
Christina Sekona** - Sunnybank
Hilisha Samoa*** - Brothers
Liz Patu** - Wests
Toa Filimoehala - Sunnybank
Averyl Mitchell** - Souths
Ivy Kaleta** - Sunnybank
Alisha Hewett** - GPS
Kiri Lingman** - Easts
Lesa Mataafa* - Sunnybank
Saxon Campbell - Souths
Gabrielle Senft* - Wests
Kirby Sefo** – Bond University
Lavinia Gould - Wests
Natassja Purontakanen* – University of Queensland
Okeroa Manihera* - Sunnybank
Shannon Mato** - Easts
Ayane Hirata - Sunnybank
Cobie-Jane Morgan** - Sunnybank
Destiny Brill* - Sunnybank
Zahara Temara - Helensvale Hogs
Hasting Leiataua* - Wests
Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea** - Sunnybank
Hagiga Mosby* – University of Queensland
Sarah Riordan** - Wests
Alana Elisaia** – Brothers
Courtney Hodder* - Sunnybank
Ivania Wong - Sunnybank
Lori Cramer** – University of Queensland
Samantha Treherne** – Sunnybank
Maraea Tupai* – Wests
Emily Bass – Bond
Melanie Wilks* – Bond University
Aleena Greenhalgh* – Wests
Asako Ono – University of Queensland
Teresa Noble* – Sunnybank
Wynona Baice – Wests
* Uncapped for Reds
** Capped for Wallaroos