Reds Reunion - 2017 Squad Announced - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Reds Reunion – 2017 Squad Announced

Reds Reunion – 2017 Squad Announced

The St George Queensland Reds have named a 38 man full-time training squad for their 2017 season and its one that features a number of returning Reds players.

Scott Higginbotham is the latest big name, returning to Ballymore having departing the Reds for the Rebels back in 2012. Higginbotham got a taste of life back in the fold at the end of last season when he played the NRC for Brisbane City, and will now return to home following his season with the NEC Green Rockets in Japan.

The wide running skillful backrower joins Quade Cooper (finished 2015), Stephen Moore (2008) and Leroy Houston (2011). It is apparent that a strong focus has been on enticing departed Queenslanders back to the home of rugby in the state to contribute to a strong culture across the organisation. Veteran Wallaby backrower George Smith will also be an important factor in this department as he mentors a number of young and exciting players through the squad.

The squad of 38, which includes the mains squad of 30 plus 8 players as part of a wider training (full-time) squad features a number of other new players.

Lachlan Maranta has joined the squad after five years at the Brisbane Broncos. Maranta went to St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace and will play wing and be a potential fullback cover.

19 year old fullback Jayden Ngamanu will part of the training squad, having being born in Perth and moving to Brisbane to complete his schooling just a couple of years ago. Ngamanu has started the last few games of the NRC for Brisbane City and is a real live-wire in attack.

One of the form players of the 2016 NRC, Izaia Perese, will train with the Reds fulltime in 2017. Given his form for Queensland Country, Perese must come under strong consideration for a starting jersey either on the wing or perhaps even at outside centre alongside Samu Kerevi.

After flirting with a move to the Western Force, scrumhalf Moses Sorovi joins the squad alongside James Tuttle as back up for the incumbent scrumhalf, and Wallaby debutant this year, Nick Frisby.

Queensland have on their books a bunch of wonderful backrow talent with a clear focus on strong ball runners, which was an area they have lacked probably since Higginbotham left them all those years ago. Hendrick Tui, Caleb Timu, Houston, Smith and Higginbotham all possess dynamite running games meaning the Reds can field a damn dangerous backrow when they feel the need. The role of mentoring will be crucial to the next generation of stars such as squad members Michael Gunn, Adam Korzyk and 2015 Australian Schoolboys captain, Reece Hewatt.

With locking depth the envy of the other Australian Super Rugby sides, NRC standouts Lukhan Tui and Izack Rodda (both 20) will join test locks Rob Simmons and Kane Douglas plus 2015 signing Cadeyrn Neville.

The prop factory at Ballymore has been working well in recent years and for 2017 the regular faces will be joined by Souths Magpie, and Brisbane City prop Markus Vinzati.

The squad is:


  • Stephen Moore
  • Andrew Ready
  • Alex Mafi

Front Rowers:

  • James Slipper
  • Sam Talakai
  • Sef Fa’agase
  • Taniela Tupou
  • Pettowa Paraka
  • Markus Vanzati


  • Cadeyrn Neville
  • Rob Simmons
  • Kane Douglas
  • Izack Rodda
  • Lukhan Tui


  • Adam Korczyk
  • Scott Higginbotham
  • Hendrick Tui
  • George Smith
  • Michael Gunn
  • Leroy Houston
  • Caleb Timu
  • Reece Hewatt


  • Nick Frisby
  • James Tuttle
  • Moses Sorovi


  • Quade Cooper
  • Jake McIntyre


  • Henry Taefu
  • Duncan Paia’aua
  • Samu Kerevi
  • Campbell Magnay


  • Izaia Perese
  • Lachlan Maranta
  • Eto Nabuli
  • Chris Feauai-Sautia
  • Chris Kuridrani


  • Karmichael Hunt
  • Jayden Ngamanu

The Reds will have a development squad of other players who will be groomed for further playing opportunities, that is a mix of established club players (including Tom Banks), players from the successful QLD Under 20 side of 2016 (Harry Hockings, Angus Scott-Young, Harry Hooper) and current schoolboys (including Will Eadie).

  • Rugbykid

    thats a good squad

    where has nabuli been this nrc?

    • Jets

      Was injured in an early game that ruled him out for the season. Should be back for start of Super Rugby.

    • Westo

      Bloody good question…his first year in SR was learning…but no sign. I am concerned with the lack of winger experience… CFS is really not great considering 4 years of experience.

  • Mart

    That is one hell of a pack!

  • Thomas O’Shea

    where has schatz gone? no overseas contract as far as i know

  • Now that Higgers is back, hopefully Chieka puts him straight into the Wallabies squad for the grand slam tour.

    • Bobas

      I think he’s contracted to Japan before meeting up with the reds, so he wont be on the spring tour this year

      • Ah right, that makes sense. Theoretically though, could Cheika use regulation 9 to call Higgers into the squad if he was wanted? Or does his eligibility for the Wallabies only kick back in when he joins the Reds?

        I only say that because the Giteau law is self imposed by the ARU and if they wanted a player that is committed to Australian Rugby next season they could just get him now.

        • Braveheart81

          Technically, yes the ARU could use Reg 9 to make him available for the first four tests of the EOYT. The third Bledisloe and last test against England are outside of the official test window.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Once he has a signed contract with an Australian franchise he is good to go!

  • chubs

    Is Maranta playing NRC? Or injured?

    • Tangawizi

      Still contracted to the Broncos

    • RugbyReg

      the NRC is finished (for QLD at least)

  • Tim

    Good team could do some serious damage

  • Tonald

    Good squad.

    Waratahs on the way down, Rebels are the Rebels and Force is the Force. Leadership void at the Brumbies. Reds can make the playoffs of this ridiculous competition.

    • jamie

      Don’t discount the rebels just yet. Last season we had a horror run with injuries and this season I reckon we’ve finished off the puzzle: one more X Factor player in the backline in Koribete.

  • Classical orchestra

    Where is genia in 2017?

    • Bobas

      hopefully resting himself into form for the wallabies games like he did this year.

      • Classical symphony

        Glorious form it has been. Is he contracted to any club for 2017 yet? Genia’s game management is so understated. Allows quade to concentrate on the (admittedly limited) set of things he does incredibly well. Would be so good to see genia in red…

        Wonder what digby is thinking right about now….

        • Digby is playing for the Crusaders next year unfortunately.

        • Brisneyland Local

          That would be the bomb, if Digby and Willy G came back.
          It would be a Qld Public Holiday!

        • John Tynan

          Contracted in France still, I think.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Still in France, but he will come home soon! 12 more months!

  • brumby runner

    “Perese must come under strong consideration for a starting jersey either on the wing or perhaps even at outside centre alongside Samu Kerevi.”

    If Perese is only in the wider training group, can he be considered for a starting spot other than through injury to those in the contracted list? I recall Scott Fardy couldn’t play for the Brumbies while on the wtg until there was no other option amongst the contracted players. Maybe just a Brumbies’ rule?

    • Tangawizi

      CFS is already injured for at least the first month so Perese can have his spot.

    • RugbyReg

      anyone in the full time training squad can play

  • Muzz

    Have they announced a Ballymore Kid this year from the NRC? I thought that was an annual thing. And has the Prince fallen off the Reds squad list.

    • John Tynan

      In Breaking News*, they have increased age eligibility of The Ballymore Kid up to about 32.

      *probably not true. Actually, definitely not true.

      • Muzz

        Ha ha. Maybe they forgot about it this year. They could just throw together a press release saying that Perese is the Kid, I don’t think he’s been in the squad before.

    • SuckerForRed

      The Prince is off to 7s.

      • Simon

        Any idea why? Told he’s not big enough for Super Rugby?

        • SuckerForRed

          Don’t think so. Looking at him on the weekend he seems to have filled out a bit. From what I have heard was a decision around supporting family. Might have been offered a better deal through the 7s program.

  • McWarren

    And today I really needed to concentrate at work. I’ve already given the unsuspecting CEO 5 starting backrow variations. The receptionist isn’t talking to me cause I just keep walking past her muttering something about Bottoms coming. Talk about the longest off season in history.
    In the words of one presidential hopeful ‘Next season, that’s, well that’s next year and its gonna be great, take my word for it, I’m gonna make it great!!!!! And then I’m going to build a wall around Ballymore, its gonna be great, none of them will ever get out again’, they’re gonna love it and I’m gonna make them pay for it’.

  • Seb V

    Far out great squad on paper. Hope it doesn’t turn into a Brumbies scenario from a few years back where they were referred to as the ‘Real Madrid’ of rugby (back with Gits and Rocky) where it was strong on paper but never lived up to the hype.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Wow, I am excited again. I have been this excited about the Reds in years!
    This could be a really good season! At least my kids wont have to see their dad crying as much on the drive home from Suncorp!

    • SuckerForRed

      Let’s face it though, doesn’t take much to get us Red’s supporters excited recently. :-)
      At least there aren’t any “WTF” members this year.

      • Brisneyland Local

        We seem to be on a role. Geting rid of Woody, gettting George Smtih, getting Quade back, and now Higgers. I just hope that all this excitement can deliver a few victories on the paddock!

        • McWarren

          I can’t see the likes of Smith, Thorn, Moore, Higgers or Cooper coming back to or joining the Reds if some significant work wasn’t done in the back ground. All these guys could have gone elsewhere but chose to come to the Reds. That has to be a good sign, right? Please

        • Brisneyland Local

          I am hoping like you!
          I always said it would take 2-3 years to “unfuck” the Woody years!

        • dane

          I think point A was the key factor in leading to points B,C, and D.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep! I agree with you!

    • Simon

      I get excited every year though when the Reds squad is announced, though. It generally lasts up until the first regular season game, although last year it only lasted up until the first pre-season game.
      That’s when I realise that it doesn’t matter how good the squad is when the support isn’t up to standard.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I hear you, but hopefully we are seeing a change in the organisation and the culture. With George Smtih And Brad Thorn there, I am sure we will see the high performance and no ‘dickhead’ culture increase.

    • Spank

      Good to see Higgers back. Would be great to see Genia also but can’t have everything and we have to move on.

  • Tim

    They look to have a good team next year. Will be interesting who will be the top dog next year in the Australian conference

  • Porpor

    1. Slipper, 2. Moore, 3. Talakai, 4. Simmons, 5. Douglas, 6. Tui, 7. Smith, 8. Houston, 9. Frisby, 10. Cooper, 11. Nabuli, 12. Kerevi, 13. Perese, 14. F-Sautia, 15. Hunt.

    16. Ready, 17. Fa’agase, 18. Tupou, 19. Neville, 20. Higginbottham, 21. Tuttle, 22. McIntyre, 23. Kuridrani.

    • Simon

      Another interesting combo would be 12. Paia’aua 13. Kerevi. Paia’aua is developing into a classic Aussie-type second playmaker 12 and has proved very slippery in the NRC, taking it to the line which is what the current generation of Reds playmakers (including Cooper the last few years) have been lacking.

      F-Sautia may need to pick his game up if he’s going to keep his spot in that squad, with Kuridrani having a decent NRC, Perese an excellent NRC, and Maranta the dark horse unknown quantity.

    • Seb V

      Houston & Tui before Higgers? None have established themselves as super xv players yet. Higgers has. He’d be starting at 6 or 8 before one of those guys I’d imagine.

      • John Tynan

        Tui was one of the best and hardest workers last season, I’d say he proved himself. Compensates for Higger’s wide running play by doing the dirty work in tight.

      • jamie

        I’d go Tui 6 and Higgers 8. Tui averaged about 20 runs a game last year, and most were in tight.

      • Porpor

        Ridiculous statement. Tui was the Reds’ best attacking forward last season and it would be a crime not to have him in the stsrting XV.

        Houston v Higgers I can’t decide. For me, Houston probably just edges Higgers out as I think the team could do with his mongrel and strong carries.

    • John Tynan

      I reckon it will be 12 Paia’aua 13 Kerevi 14 Perese

    • I’d start Higgers over Houston at 8. Other than that it looks the goods.

      Another thing I’d mention is that I hope Stiles doesn’t give Moore the captaincy just because he is the Wallaby captain. Slipper should stay captain of the Reds.

  • Simon

    Bloody hell, with Higgers, Moore and Smith in the squad they’ll just about need to schedule a mid-afternoon snooze into training!

    • SuckerForRed

      Might be recruiting a geriatrician next…..

    • Brisneyland Local

      I watched Smith in his last overseas game. He put the others to shame.

    • jamie

      Smith defies his age. By a lot. He’s a freak human being.

    • USARugger

      Smith doesn’t look like he’s slowed down one bit since 2013 when he stamped his name onto the competition again and Higginbotham is the same age as Kieran Read but has been enjoying a far lighter workload playing in Japan than his counterparts have in Super Rugby over the last few years.

      I think we’ll be alright.

  • RedAnt

    Any chance of getting Link back too?

    • Gottsy

      I’m excited to see what stiles can do. I thought Link was amazing in his first couple of years at ballymore but started to slip after 2011- not saying it was a flash in the pan, but I think a new approach is good for us atm

  • Glynn Phillips

    Spring tour Higgers at 8

    • RugbyReg

      he will still be in Japan

  • Adrian

    Reds will be in a 3-way dead heat with Tahs and Rebels to top Australian conference.

    Only caveat is that this will be true unless there is an undercurrent of negative culture we haven’t yet heard about. Stranger things have happened, especially in Queensland;

    Interestingly, they’ve lost a good player, but one who can’t be told anything, and gained another player of similar ilk! No names, no pack drill!

    Brumbies will fade away, and Force will have the odd good game.

    • Simon

      The Force always do, usually against opposition who should know better.

      • jamie

        Like last season, when they beat the Tahs (Semi-Finalists) Twice. And that was 2 of their only 3 wins of the season.

        • Simon

          And this season when they largely outplayed and very nearly beat the Crusaders, going down by a point after a Saders try in the very last minute.

          I remember that one well as I had a bet on the Force for the upset at odds of something like $11!

          They’re a great ambush side for teams that underestimate them. They choke off the ball of sides that rely on free-running rugby, cause those sides to panic a bit and start taking risks and making mistakes. If the Force can capitalise on those mistakes they are often capable of an upset. Unfortunately their skills have often let them down.

        • jamie

          I put most of that on their Skip, still one of the best 7’s in the comp.

        • Simon

          Absolutely. A tackling machine, massive workrate, contests every ruck and slows ball down. It’s just a pity they haven’t had the cattle in the backline to score tries off the back of that sort of effort.

        • jamie

          While I firmly believe that hybrid 7s (Hooper, A Savea) are the way to go, there’s no questioning what a very good old-school 7 can do for a team.

  • Bairdy

    Vanzati is a loosehead prop isn’t he? While quality, the Reds’ prop stable looks loosehead heavy.
    Otherwise, very strong squad. The pieces seem to be falling into place, now the Reds puzzle all hinges on the coaching/support staff.

  • Pearcewreck

    All I will say is anyone who doubts George Smiths greatness will probably end up looking foolish.
    He could end up with yet another player of the year award.
    The word legend is not worthy of him, he is beyond that.

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