Reds scrumhalf Kalani Thomas is looking to push returning Wallaby Tate McDermott all the way as he builds off his debut season.
Thomas featured heavily for the Reds towards the back end of Super Rugby AU, throwing the pass to set up James O'Connor's match-winning try in the Final.
He would be rewarded with his first start a week later against the Highlanders, scoring after four minutes during the 40-19 defeat.
With a full season of Super Rugby and his starting debut already under his belt, the 19-year-old is keen to test himself against McDermott and new recruit Spencer Jeans after the departure of Moses Sorovi to the Rebels.
“At the moment, I just see myself as another halfback pushing for that number one spot,” Thomas told media.
“We’re behind a Wallaby in Tate McDermott so Spencer Jeans and I are just competing day in day out until he comes back in.
“It’s good we have such a good competition for spots because if you have one day off they can catch you.
"(Tate’s) a Wallaby for a reason so it’s up to me whether I want to push him or just ride the wave. It’s up to me at the end of the day if I want it enough. It’s good to be behind him because all you can do is push him.”
Now in his second year with the club, Thomas' perspective has changed, no longer comfortable with just being a part of a professional squad.
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In doing so, he was looking to learn from the likes of McDermott, James O'Connor as well as picking the brains of former Wallaby and current Reds GM of Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley.
“Every day you learn something new from there. They’ve been in the Wallabies set up for some time now so all you can do is learn from them and implement their teachings into your game,” he said.
“We have a great halfback in (GM of Professional Rugby) Sam Cordingley whose played for the Wallabies so we’re amongst a lot of great talent and experience at the Reds which is awesome.
“Last year it was a bit different for me, I was still 18 coming in and I was just riding the wave of being a professional environment and I didn’t think I was going to start.
“Coming back this year, my mindset has changed dramatically. I want to be playing more time, I want to be that number one (scrumhalf) but I’m behind a great halfback in Tate McDermott as well as Spencer Jeans. We’re all pushing for that number one spot at the end of the day.”