Super W: Master and teen apprentice to turn out at halfback for Reds against Rebels

Super W
by Emma Greenwood

Cobie-Jane Morgan's drive to inspire a new generation of players has been so successful she has helped mentor the player that will replace her in the Reds' line-up during Saturday's clash against the Rebels.

Capped Wallaroo Morgan has been promoted to the Reds starting side after coming off the bench in their Super W opener against RugbyWA last week on one of three changes to Moana Virtue's first XV.

Morgan is a teacher at Marsden State High School where she mentors girls playing both rugby codes, including 16-year-old Destiny Brill, who will be her understudy this week.

"I thrive on working with the young ones because one day they have to fill these jerseys or our shoes," Morgan said.

"If you can plant seeds early enough in their career - and they're already excellent players as they are because they're here - then it gives you a warm feeling inside that the jersey's going to be left in a better place."

Morgan is among senior players to have taken on the responsibility of helping mentor the emerging Reds with the likes of Millie Boyle (injury) and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea (sevens) missing from Super W this season.

"Our focus hasn't been on girls that are injured or ruled out, our focus has been on our new and developing players, taking them under our wing and teaching them how to be at this level," Morgan said.

"The girls that have stepped into back row roles or inside back roles are doing really well.

"As an experienced player, I'm really happy with where they are at the moment."

Morgan came off the bench in the Reds' season-opener last week after undergoing surgery on a broken collar bone late last year.

After fracturing the bone playing in the Darwin Sevens last November, Morgan had a plate inserted and while she was back training within days, she only started contact work weeks before the Reds' first game against Fijiana.

"Injuries happen, it's part of it," she said.

"I was really lucky, our doctor Sharon Ward organised surgery two days later, so in with a plate, fixed up and back on the field by Saturday - three or four days later I was back to training."

While Morgan is returning to her best, the Reds have lost backrowers Kirby Sefo and Kiri Lingman to injury, with Lesa Kaleti Mataafa and Saxon Campbell promoted to the starting side, with Kaleti Mataafa set to make her starting debut. 

Brill is one of five potential debutants in the reserves this week, however there is no shortage of experience amongst the newcomers. 

The 2017 Australian Rugby Women’s XVs player of the year and mum of five, Hilisha Samoa, is in line for her first Queensland appearance since 2017.

Having taken over two years away from Rugby as she welcomed her two daughters into the world, Samoa’s first game of Rugby since the 2017 World Cup in Ireland was Queensland’s trial game against Fijiana. 

Lock and physiotherapist Aleena Greenhalgh, who originally began her Rugby journey with the Bristol Bears is also in-line for her debut, as is fellow former Bristol rep and Canadian international Gabby Senft. 

Sunnybank’s Kauna Lopa, who was a late edition to the squad ahead of the Fijiana trial, has also been named in the reserves for her potential  first Queensland and Super W cap. 

The Reds take on the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, February 29, in the first leg of a double-header ahead of the Reds-Sharks Super Rugby clash, kicking off at 4:35pm AEDT (3:35pm local) and broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports, Kayo and at RUGBY.com.au.

TEAM

Reds to face Rebels

1.    Liz Patu - Wests

2.    Averyl Mitchell - Souths

3.    Christina Sekona - Sunnybank

4.    Lesa Kaleti Mataafa* - Sunnybank

5.    Saxon Campbell - Souths

6.    Shannon Mato - Easts

7.    Natassja Purontakanen - University of Queensland 

8.    Okeroa Manihera - Sunnybank 

9.    Cobie-Jane Morgan – Bond University 

10.    Zahara Temara - Helensvale Hogs 

11.    Lori Cramer (C) – University of Queensland 

12.    Lavinia Gould - Wests

13.    Alana Elisaia - Brothers

14.    Ivania Wong – Sunnybank 

15.    Courtney Hodder - Sunnybank

Reserves

16.    Ivy Kaleta – Sunnybank 

17.    Toakase Filimoehala - Easts

18.    Hilisha Samoa** - GPS

19.    Aleena Greenhalgh** – Bond University 

20.    Gabby Senft** - Bond University 

21.    Destiny Brill** - Sunnybank 

22.    Maraea Tupai - Wests 

23.    Kauna Lopa** - Sunnybank 

*Denotes starting debut 

**Denotes potential Queensland and Super W debut