Super Rugby


2/1/2016

Townsville dominate Queensland Country Under-20 selections for 2016


Townsville is fast becoming the burgeoning region for Rugby talent in country Queensland, with a total of 10 players from the area selected in the 25-man Queensland Country under-20s squad for 2016. 

The Country squad will compete at the Southern States under-20s Championships in Adelaide from 19-21 February, where they will take on South Australia and traditional rivals NSW Country. 

Head coach and Townsville Rugby stalwart Terry Shiells believes the significant Townsville representation in the squad is due to the strong under-19 colts competition in the region. 

“Obviously the selection of the 10 players is reward for Townsville having a strong colts competition,” Shiells said. 

“For the retention and growth of Rugby in the region it’s very beneficial.”

Shiells also believes that having two local players in brothers Andrew and Michael Parker having represented Bond University Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) has seen local players build a desire to chase representative honours. 

“Having the two Parker brothers selected in the NRC has also given players the aspiration to go on and represent Queensland Country,” he said.

“It’s a hard job trying to build a pathway in Queensland as it’s such a large area but it’s a great opportunity for players to be able to see the pathway system from club Rugby, to sub-union, to regional and then through to the Queensland Country Heelers and the NRC in practice.” 

The Parker brothers aren’t the only Townsville locals to progress through to representative honours in recent times, with local James Cook University players Brianna Rossato and Michaela Wright featuring for the Queensland Women’s Sevens development side at the World’s Hottest Sevens tournament in Darwin last month. 

While Townsville is proving to be a talent pool for regional Rugby stars, the Queensland Country program encapsulates all the regional centres of the state outside of Brisbane and the Country under-20s team also features players from Far North Queensland, Central Queensland, Wide Bay, the Sunshine Coast, Darling Downs and the Gold Coast. 

In 2015, young scrumhalf Harry Nucifora from the Gold Coast celebrated his 18th birthday while representing Queensland Country at the Southern States Championships, before going on to represent the Australian under-20s and Queensland Country in the NRC. Shiells has used Nucifora as an example of what is possible for the current crop of players in 2016. 

“We spoke about Harry at our camp in Townsville. Last year Harry was on the fringes of our squad leading into the tournament but he worked hard, played well during the carnival and went on to higher hounors. It’s important to convey to the boys that they have to give everything and seize their opportunity.” 

While in Adelaide the Country under-20s side will also spend time training with Australian under-20s head coach Adrian Thompson, who was also an assistant coach for the Queensland Country NRC side in 2015. 

“Adrian has a program that every team at the tournament will go through and it means that players will also have to train and play well, while in Adelaide,” Shiells said.

“Many of our players have the desire to pursue professional or semi-professional careers in Rugby and they’re looking forward to doing some training with Adrian. They’re thankful for the opportunity as they’re not usually surrounded by such high profile people within the game.” 

The Queensland Country under-20s program provides regionally based players with the opportunity to push for representative honours with the Australian under-20s, as well as the Reds under-20s. 

2016 Queensland Country under-20s

Name

Club

Region

Atama Tahana

Gladstone

Central Queensland

Sammuel Keane

Teachers West

Townsville

Tye Nash

Fraser Coast Mariners

Wide Bay

Aden Troxell

Noosa Dolphins

Sunshine Coast

Aniello Nastasi

Brothers

Townsville

John Vinson

Teachers West

Townsville

Tom Audas

Brothers

Townsville

Matt Burke

St.George

Darling Downs

Ben Littleton

Rangers

Darling Downs

Will Gilbert

Gooniwindi Emus

Darling Downs

Dudley Miles

JCU Mariners

FNQ Rugby

Curtis Rayment

Teachers West

Townsville

Colby Mason

Teachers West

Townsville

Aaron Coleman

Redskins

Townsville

Joshua Lamb

Teachers West

Townsville

Hugh Huppatz

Teachers West

Townsville

Liam Duncan

JCU Mariners

FNQ Rugby

Robert Paterson

Rangers

Darling Downs

Martin Brennan

Teachers West

Townsville

Lawson Dingle

Roma Echidnas

Darling Downs

Lachlan Howell

Frenchville Pioneers

Central Queensland

Brodyn Christison

Helensvale Hogs

Gold Coast

Josh Boyd

Caloundra Lighthouses

Sunshine Coast

Kyle Salter

University of Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast

Kalani Heke

Frenchville Pioneers

Central Queensland

Head Coach

Terry Shiells

Townsville

Assistant Coach

Joe Faalogo

Gold Coast

Team Manager

Robert Brennan

FNQ Rugby

Physio

Morgan Pratt

Gold Coast


Rugby Traveller