2021 was one of the Red Heavies finest years on record. The club were dominant throughout the Premier Rugby season, and were buoyed buy a host of talent both old and new, including the likes of former Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, who came out of retirement to claim the trophy that had eluded him throughout his career – the Hospital Cup.
The success of the team last year saw many of the club’s players progress to higher honours, with Connor Vest now representing the Reds in Super Rugby Pacific, while Lona Halaholo is part of the Waratahs wider squad.
Despite the loss of some seasoned campaigners within the club, the Red Heavies are well versed with blooding new talent and bringing them up to Premier Rugby talent at an accelerated rate.
We spoke with head coach Mick Heenan ahead of Round 1.
“We had a great year last year,” said Heenan.
“It was one of our more dominant years but that doesn’t count for much heading into 2022. We’ve been down this road before and no one has won back-to-back premierships since the Canberra Vikings were in the competition,
“We’ve had a lot of turnover of players, it’s potentially going to be difficult this year.
“So far in pre-season we’ve really just been trying to create the right connections within the team, we have new guys in key positions.
“We had some disruptions following the floods, we’ve been training out at Kenmore Rugby Club and only returned to St Lucia this Thursday night which has caused some issues, but we had three good trials and we’re looking forward to the season ahead.”
“Every club is trying to win the premiership, that’s the focus for our first and second grade squads.
“In terms of the club, we want to be back in the calculations for the Doughty Shield (club championships). We’ve looked to build depth across the club and we’re in a better position as a whole club this year.”
Brad Kuhn – Norths Okaw OBonno – Norths Liam Prendergast – Norths Dylan Rowe – Bond Joe Falaulau – Sunnybank Navo Lackatui – Paramata
Lachlan Stewart – Souths Brad Kapa – Brothers Mosiah Christian – Brothers Lona Halaholo – Waratahs/Newcastle Wildfires Stephen Moore – retirement
UNIVERSITY PLAYER TO WATCH
Alex Davies, Kye Oates & Brad Twidale
“Alex had a breakthrough year last year, he looked at home at Premier Grade level. He is primed to step up and dominate in Premier Grade this year.
“Kye Oates has definitely benefited from his time in the Reds set up during pre-season and he has come back to us with a new level of confidence which has reflected in his impacts on the game. Brad Twidale has also had a great pre-season after a couple of injury riddled seasons so I’m hoping we will see the best from him.”
OPPOSITION PLAYER TO WATCH
Tautalatasi Tasi & Paddy James
“Tasi at GPS will be good, that’s a quality get for them. Paddy James is always someone who has a good impact on the game and then the unknown will be which players from other franchises such as the Rebels and the Drua come back into the competition towards the backend of the season.”