The Queensland Reds have continued to invest in developing elite Rugby talent at Ballymore with a total of 31 players retained from last year’s program ahead of the 2021 Super Rugby season.
Following a Grand Final appearance last year, the current Queensland group has built a strong culture of care and connection which will again be a strong focus as the club strives for sustained success in 2021 and beyond.
89% of the current 37-man squad has come through the Queensland pathway having been a part of Reds Academy programs, represented Queensland at either U18s or U20s level, played Queensland Premier Club Rugby or played for either Queensland Country or Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) or in the U19s (URC) competition.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s great to keep a consistent group – both players and staff, heading into the 2021 season.
“Close to 90% of our guys have come through the system here in Queensland which we’re really proud of.
“The majority of this group have been together for nearly five years now and they’re all mates. They care about the cause here at Queensland and we’re all looking forward to the year ahead,” said Thorn.
The Reds will be bolstered by the addition of five Developing Squad players with Queensland Club Rugby products Ben Grant, Brothers duo Hudson Creighton and Matt Faessler, plus University of Queensland backrower Sam Wallis and Wests playmaker Isaac Henry all handed part-time contracts.
Last week, Josh Flook, Zane Nonggorr, Mac Grealy, Kalani Thomas and Ilaisa Droasese were all elevated from the Reds Academy into the senior Queensland squad.
While late last year, a further four players re-signed with tight-five trio Josh Nasser, Tuania Taii Tualima and Ryan Smith all recommitted for two more years, in addition to scrumhalf Moses Sorovi who inked a new deal through 2021.
Seven players last year signed four-year deals to stay at Queensland through 2023 that included Taniela Tupou, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Filipo Daugunu, Angus Blyth and Harry Hoopert.
Hunter Paisami, Alex Mafi, Hamish Stewart, Jock Campbell and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto all recommitted for a further three years in 2019.
With the addition of Jordan Petaia who signed a four-year deal in 2018, a total of 13 players have signed long-term deals to remain at the Reds reinforcing the QRU’s strategy to develop elite talent in Queensland.
In 2019, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Bryce Hegarty, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Feao Fotuaika, Dane Zander and Seru Uru all pen-to-paper through 2021.
Fresh after winning his second NRL premiership with the Melbourne Storm, Suliasi Vunivalu linked-up with his new Queensland team-mates last week to begin preparations for the 2021 Super Rugby season.
Having re-signed through 2021, Thorn will once again lead a world-class coaching roster at Queensland alongside assistants Jim McKay (Attack) and Michael Todd (Defence), plus Cameron Lillicrap (Scrum Coach) and Damian Marsh (Athletic Performance Manager).
As part of the QRU’s strategy to identify and develop emerging Rugby talent in Queensland, the Reds’ coaching staff will again work closely with the Reds Academy spearheaded by Head of Academy Paul Carozza.
The club would also like to acknowledge and thank departing players Chris Feauai-Sautia, JP and Ruan Smith, Scott Malolua, Jack Hardy, Jack Straker, Sean Farrell, Jethro Felemi, Dave Feao, Tom Kibble, Michael Wood and Carter Gordon for their contributions to Queensland.
Queensland Reds memberships are now on sale. CLICK HERE to secure your seat for the 2021 Super Rugby season.