Rising lock Josh Canham signs with Queensland Reds

Tue, Jun 25, 2024, 11:31 PM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit
Towering lock Josh Canham has signed a two year deal with the Queensland Rugby Union
Towering lock Josh Canham has signed a two year deal with the Queensland Rugby Union

The Queensland Rugby Union is excited to announce the signing of towering young lock Josh Canham on a two-year deal for 2025 and 2026.

The 2.02m Canham, 23, will arrive at the Queensland Reds from three strong seasons of development as a Melbourne Rebels player.

For Canham, finding the right club to continue his progression is important after the Rebels played their final game earlier this month.

“The Reds’ style of play suits me. What I see is a fast, skilful game, especially with the way the forwards and backs connect. I look forward to being a part of it,” Canham said.

“I talked to players and the coaches and all the things I’ve heard are that it’s a good environment to work in.”

Canham was selected in the Australian Under-20s squad in 2021 while at the Rebels Academy after learning his rugby at Melbourne’s Brighton Grammar and the Harlequins Rugby Club.

Canham is honest about how hard the end of the Rebels hit him.

“It’s a weird one. It’s almost like having a little break-up because of the relationships and friendships I had at that club,” Canham said.

“It’s obviously sad but Australia’s other Super Rugby teams are going to be better and also more competitive against Kiwi teams.

“I’ll still be representing Victorian rugby in a sense. It doesn’t matter where you play, you are representing.”

Canham is excited to develop his game further within the Reds system under head coach Les Kiss and his staff.

“I’ve definitely got better in the tight stuff and I want to get better again next year,” Canham said.

As one of Super Rugby Pacific’s top lineout winners, Canham had a highly productive 2024 campaign in 14 games of Super Rugby Pacific.

His offload game (16) put him in the top 10 across the whole competition to emphasise the multiple traits to his game.

“(Former Wallaby) Scott Higginbotham was my favourite player growing up so, yeah, I do love to throw an offload or two,” Canham said.

Sam Cordingley, Reds General Manager-Professional Rugby, said Canham’s signing is a positive.

“There’s a point of difference around his skillset. He’s got a strong ball carry but he’s also got a natural offload game,” Cordingley said.

“The lineout is such an important part of the game. Josh is not only a very good lineout caller but a particularly strong reader in defensive lineouts.

“He’s progressing as one of the best young locks in the country.”

Inadvertently, the COVID pandemic gave Canham his first extended taste of rugby in Queensland in 2021 when the Australian Under-20s had to disband without playing a game.

“Melbourne was in lockdown so I stayed on the Gold Coast and played for Bond University,” Canham said.

Canham played again with the Bullsharks last year and flew up last weekend for a cameo off the bench against Wests in the StoreLocal Hospital Cup.

An invitation to play with the Barbarians in Europe last year gave him the chance to expand his game with matches against top English and Welsh clubs.


Position: Lock

Height: 202cm

Weight: 115kg

Born: 1/01/2001

Place of birth: Peoria, USA

Senior Club: Bond University

School: Brighton Grammar School, Melbourne

Junior Club: Harlequins Rugby Club, Melbourne

Super Rugby Pacific Debut: 2022 Melbourne Rebels v Fijian Drua

Super Rugby caps: 34 (Rebels)

Super Rugby points: 10 (two tries)