GAME CHANGERS - Allsports Physiotherapy Hospital Challenge Cup

Fri, 20/08/2021, 02:00 am
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit

Big players step up in the big moments, and the Allsports Physiotherapy Hospital Challenge Cup finals series is all about big moments.

Let’s take a look at four players who could change the game when it matters for their clubs over the next two weeks. 

Matt Gicquel | GPS – Flanker 

After an up and down campaign last season, GPS are back to their clinical best in 2021 and Matt Gicquel’s return has been an instrumental part in their form. 

The Maleny Bushrangers product was forced onto the sidelines for much of 2020, but has made his presence more than known for the Gallopers this year and will be a key man against Wests in next Sunday’s semi-final.

A menace at the breakdown, Gicquel’s work rate and support play is second to none, while he has also scored seven tries in a superb regular season. 

Gicquel enters another finals campaign with plenty of experience on the big stage behind him, with the openside winning the premiership and Tony Shaw Medal as player of the final in 2018. 

Connor Vest | UQ – Lock 

Arguably the figurehead of the UQ forward pack, Connor Vest is the type of player you hate to play against but love to run on alongside. 

Abrasive and aggressive, Vest made the move to Queensland from the Shute Shield last season and quickly turned heads with his powerful running game and jarring defence. 

The lock leads on and off the field for the Heavies and will be looking to get on the front foot against his opposite number in Queensland Reds lock Ryan Smith come semi-final time. 

After the disappointment of last year’s Grand Final loss, he’ll be desperate for redemption and to taste Grand Final glory alongside his clubmates.

Isaac Henry | Wests – Centre 

2021 has been a breakout year for Isaac Henry and he’ll look to carry that form into the finals series for the Bulldogs. 

The inside-centre made his Queensland and Super Rugby debut earlier in the season, playing five games and impressing with his physicality and stout defence.

Hard running and uncompromising, Henry brings an aggressive, hard-nosed edge to a Wests backline which features plenty of spark in and around him.

Henry’s goal kicking adds another string to his bow with the sharpshooter consistently turning five points into seven off the tee.

Nathan Carroll | Brothers – Fullback 

It’s been another great season for Brothers fullback Nathan Carroll, who continues to establish himself as the centrepiece of the Brethren attack. 

Brothers have well and truly kicked into gear late in the season, including a crushing 83-7 win over Sunnybank in their last game of the regular season. 

Carroll has been at the heart of these efforts, with the fullback racking up a tally of 165 points for the season including seven tries. 

His combination with the likes of Paddy James, Hudson Creighton and Billy Bulley will be key for Brothers as they look to stamp their ticket to Suncorp Stadium when they take on UQ.