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2018 marked another successful season for the University of Queensland, with the side finishing as runners-up and claiming the Horsley Cup (minor premiership), Welsby Cup and the inaugural Bunter Bowl.
The Students finished the regular season with 12 wins and four losses, before they defeated GPS in the major semi-final to move through the decider. It wasn’t to be on Grand Final day for the defending premiers however, with the Gallopers breaking through for their first premiership since 1996 with a 23-17 victory.
The club has lost a number of big names ahead of 2019, with captain Con Foley and playmaker Scott Gale both signing contracts in the United States, while Wyatt Setu and front-rowers Campbell Walkley and Hamish Richardson have also moved on. All five players started in the 2018 Grand Final, making their departures a significant loss for the Heavies.
However player turnover is no new challenge for Uni, with the club continuing to thrive despite losing a number of players each year.
As per usual, 2019 will see a young side take the field, with up and coming stars such as Brad Twidale, Josh Nasser and Ben Paxton-Hall all likely to feature for the side throughout the season, while 24-year-old flyhalf James Dalgleish will order the troops around the park again this season.
With four Hospital Challenge Cup titles since 2010, Uni are the dominant force of Queensland Premier Rugby, and will undoubtedly be a strong contender once again in 2019.
THE INSIDE WORD
“Pre-season has been really good, we’ve got a really good core group of players and the boys have been working really hard since December.
“Player turnover is pretty normal for us. Being a University club, you have players finishing degrees and getting jobs elsewhere or taking up other Rugby opportunities so it’s nothing new.
“It gives other people opportunities and the next blokes in line will get their shot this season.
“The goal for us is the same every year and I’d be surprised if it’s not the same for every club. We’ve gotten ourselves into contention most years over the past decade and we understand how hard you have to work to win a Grand Final and every player knows how hard they have to be working every week to reach the finals.
“Everyone is excited to get on and play some matches.”
- Mick Heenan
PLAYER TO WATCH – Sam Wallis
2018 was a huge year for Sam Wallis and the Heavies faithful will be hoping 2019 is even bigger for the backrower. In his first full season out of Colts Rugby, Wallis cemented a spot in the ever-competitive UQ forward pack, before helping the side to a third-consecutive Grand Final. Wallis then went on to earn his first National Rugby Championship cap with Brisbane City, coming off the bench in their round two clash before starting the side’s remaining four games at number-eight. With experience at the next level and a successful pre-season under his belt, Wallis will be a mainstay in the Student’s forward pack this season.
Cam Flavell – Auckland
Kye Oates – Rugby League
BJ Oates – Rugby League
Ashton Watson – Rugby League
22 MARCH 2019