Samu Kerevi (R) of the Reds celebrates a try with teammates during the round two Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on February 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Samu Kerevi (R) of the Reds celebrates a try with teammates during the round two Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on February 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

10 things to energise Queensland rugby in 2019

After a difficult 2018 which brought 10 losses and just six wins, Queensland rugby fans need something to raise their spirits ahead of the next Super Rugby season.

Never fear, Jim Tucker is here - and he's bringing 10 reasons to be excited about the new season.

1 A RETURN TO THE FINALS

There is no other pass mark for the Reds in 2019 than reaching the Super Rugby finals for the first time since 2013. The Durban-based Sharks snuck into eighth spot last year with seven wins and draw from 16 games so it's not Mt Everest.

More try-scoring punch (for valuable bonus points), beating NSW, winning a few on the road and turning Suncorp Stadium into a fortress again are the building blocks.

2 WORLD CUP WATCH

Samu Kerevi, Izack Rodda and "Tongan Thor" Taniela Tupou look to have a lock on key World Cup roles for the Wallabies in Japan (September 20-November 2).

Which Reds can rise to join them?

Flanker project Lukhan Salakaia-Loto is definitely one forceful figure who has the right make-up.

Wing recruit Sefa Naivalu is a real flyer who can build on his three-Test comeback late last year.

Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and backrower Caleb Timu are bidding in super-competitive positions.

Winger-centre Jordan Petaia is an exhilarating talent to follow because he would still be just 19 if he forces a Cup squad berth with a string of rousing Reds displays.

 

3 BEATING THE NSW WARATAHS

Did we mention that already? The lame recent record against Queensland's most traditional foe has now stretched to an embarrassing NINE straight losses.

Circle March 9 at the SCG and May 18 at Suncorp Stadium as the dates for a turning point in history.

You can't bang on about the pride in the reactivated maroon jersey and be subservient as serial losers on interstate night. It's way overdue to sip from the Templeton Cup because some don't even remember what it looks like.

 

Reds fans, look away: it’s been grim times against the Waratahs recently. Picture: AAP
Reds fans, look away: it’s been grim times against the Waratahs recently. Picture: AAP

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4 AUSTRALIAN CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP

Brisbane champions GPS will take on Sydney University under lights at Ballymore on Saturday, March 16.

GPS will be playing under new head coach Elwee Prinsloo and his new assistants Nick Fogarty and Brendan Gabbett.

There's a gap at hooker since Ryan Freney's retirement after last year's grand final triumph but powerful back Chris Kuridrani's return from Japan adds a trump.

The pinnacle club clash will be broadcast live on Fox Sports after University of Queensland play Warringah and the Queensland women's team play the Brumbies.

 

You’ve got to respect the jersey, as Samu Kerevi does. Picture: AAP
You’ve got to respect the jersey, as Samu Kerevi does. Picture: AAP

5 THE MAROON JERSEY

The blood-red jersey, shorts and socks that the Reds wore on their glory run to the 2011 Super Rugby title has been retired.

In its place, the Reds have gone old school with a return to the traditional maroon jersey for all games.

For coach Brad Thorn, it was a clear-cut choice: "When you think about representing sport in Queensland, you think about maroon."

 

6 THE SUPER W

There has been a 20 per cent growth in participation in female XVs since the success of Super W's lift-off last season.

The Queensland girls were at the forefront of that statement by pushing the fancied NSW side to extra-time in a thrilling grand final.

Former Australian Sevens spark Georgie Freidrichs and 2017 Wallaroos backrower Millie Boyle are two eye-catching gains while centre trump Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea is all class at just 18.

The girls will play RugbyWA at Suncorp Stadium (March 2) and the Brumbies at Ballymore (March 16) during their four-game push to reach the finals next month.

 

GPS players Daniel Gorman and Michael Richards celebrate after last year’s club rugby grand final. Picture: AAP
GPS players Daniel Gorman and Michael Richards celebrate after last year’s club rugby grand final. Picture: AAP

 

7 GRASSROOTS

When the Wallabies and Reds weren't delivering last year, ironed-on rugby fans headed to club-land to enjoy the code again.

A burger leaking barbecue sauce, a cold beer and the enterprise of grassroots rugby always lifts the spirits.

There are some big changes in Premier Rugby with Rod Seib taking on the Brothers coaching job with a new fly half recruit in Rohan Saifoloi.

Moses Rauluni (Easts), Brad Harris (Bond University), Elwee Prinsloo (GPS) and Luke Oxford (Norths) are other new head coaches.

All four club games will be live streamed each Saturday on redsrugby.com.au and the Match-of-the-Round replayed midweek on Fox Sports.

 

8 GET YOUR GOLD ON

The Wallabies will play just two Tests on home soil in World Cup year which brings extra focus to July 27 at Suncorp Stadium.

Michael Hooper's men will take on Argentina, a revenge game after the wasteful 23-19 loss to the Pumas on the Gold Coast last year.

 

Get around them — Nudgee captain Harry Vella with the GPS trophy. Picture Mark Cranitch.
Get around them — Nudgee captain Harry Vella with the GPS trophy. Picture Mark Cranitch.

 

9 SCHOOLS RUGBY

The GPS season climaxed with a pulsating 10-try thriller when Nudgee College beat The Southport School 34-29 last year.

Skipper Harry Vella and fly half Reesjan Pasitoa are both back for Nudgee's shot at a three-peat.

The Nudgee-TSS clash was perfectly timed in the final round last year but the heavyweights will meet in this season's opening round on July 20 on the Gold Coast.

 

10 QUADE RETURNS

Everyone can say it's just another game and just another player wearing No.10 but we know that's not true.

Quade Cooper will be in his new colours as Melbourne Rebels ringmaster outside Will Genia when the two Queensland favourites face the Reds at Suncorp Stadium on March 30.

A must-see match.

 

 

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