A look forward to Queensland's Super Rugby season.
A look forward to Queensland's Super Rugby season.

10 things to lift Queensland rugby in 2020

1 PLAYING FINALS IS REALISTIC

So many Super Rugby teams are in flux that 2020 is the perfect time for a quantum leap from one of the competition's most settled line-ups.

The Reds have pack power, their best balanced backline in years, a legitimate weapon in Jordan Petaia, James O'Connor's new calm and have-a-crack halves in Lucas and Tate McDermott.

Anything less than winning eight of 16 games to reach the play-offs for the first time since 2013 is a fat fail.

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2 RISE OF THE YOUNG GUNS

A new era is dawning with perennial high-performers David Pocock, Will Genia, Samu Kerevi, Quade Cooper, Sekope Kepu, Bernard Foley, Adam Coleman, Scott Higginbotham and Christian Lealiifano leaving Super Rugby to play abroad.

Livewire halfback Tate McDermott, 21, will be the next Red to follow teen talent Jordan Petaia into a gold jersey.

Harry Hockings and Liam Wright (Reds), Mark Nawaqanitawase (Waratahs) and Rob Valetini (Brumbies) are other youngsters on the rise.

Jordan Petaia is key to Queensland’s hopes. Photo: Rugby AU Media/Stuart Walmsley
Jordan Petaia is key to Queensland’s hopes. Photo: Rugby AU Media/Stuart Walmsley

3 FORTRESS SUNCORP

The Reds just haven't made Suncorp Stadium the fortress it should be. Only four wins from eight home games in 2019 was poor although it did include a drought-breaker over a Kiwi team when the Blues were beaten 29-28.

There are more family-friendly kick-off times with four 6.15pm games to start the Reds' run at Suncorp Stadium, four at 7.15pm and a Sunday afternoon match against the Highlanders (April 26) from 4.05pm.

4 QUIRKS OF THE DRAW

The boffins at Ladbrokes are asleep to list the Reds at $4.50 to top the Aussie Conference behind the Brumbies ($2.50) and Rebels ($3).

It's a great bet and the price may yet rise.

The Reds play their first three games on the road in Canberra, Johannesburg and Buenos Aires while the Brumbies play three games at home in cosy Canberra.

James O'Connor can be leader for the Reds. Photo: QRU Media
James O'Connor can be leader for the Reds. Photo: QRU Media

5 END THE EMBARRASSMENT AGAINST NSW

Not since the late 1950s and early '60s has Queensland rugby owned such an awful streak against their oldest foes from NSW. Losing ELEVEN games in a row is beyond embarrassing.

Circle April 18 at western Sydney's Bankwest Stadium and May 16 at Suncorp Stadium as the dates to end the rot.

You can talk all you like about pride in the new maroon jersey but they are hollow words until there is an overdue uprising on interstate night.

6 AUSTRALIAN CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP

University of Queensland will play Sydney University for the coveted crown in Sydney on March 14.

Master coach Mick Heenan is back to guide UQ but without grand final hero Adam Korczyk, who is playing in the backrow for Ealing Trailfinders in England's second division.

Classy halfback Jordan Lenac has returned to Uni from GPS but premiership playmaker James Dalgleish will be sidelined through March after double knee surgery.

7 FRESH GOALS IN WOMEN'S RUGBY

The Super W season has been crying out for meaningful pre-season games.

The Reds will play Fiji's touring national women's side at Ballymore on February 16 before their Super W opener against Western Australia six days later.

Losing injured Wallaroos backrower Mille Boyle is a blow but the Reds have Kirby Sefo, Zahara Temara and Sarah Riordan back this season. The March 7 clash against NSW at Ballymore is the feature fixture.

Kirby Sefo can be a star for Queensland in the Super W. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Kirby Sefo can be a star for Queensland in the Super W. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

8 GRASSROOTS

Clubland was a vibrant scene in Brisbane last year even when fan support fluctuated at higher levels.

Souths coach Elia Tuqiri and his backs boss Paul Brown have moved to GPS to work beside head coach Elwee Prinsloo.

Reds pair Scott Malolua and Feao Fotuaika have followed in a big boost for Jeeps' playing stocks. At Brothers, Anthony Mathison is the new head coach.

9 SCHOOLS RUGBY FEEDING THE NATION

You only have to look at 18-year-old Reesjan Pasitoa graduating from the Nudgee College Class of 2019 and sliding straight into the Brumbies squad this season.

It will be a learning year for the young flyhalf in Canberra where he'll be watching No.10 Noah Lolesio, just 20 and a graduate of The Southport School in 2017.

TSS, Nudgee and Brisbane Boys' College will be favoured again when GPS rugby kicks off in July.

10 WALLABIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Suncorp Stadium will be the setting for the lift-off of new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie against Ireland on July 4.

That appealing Test will be followed by a Bledisloe Cup blockbuster against the All Blacks on October 17 when the Kiwi may be singing one anthem and humming the other.


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