Zane Nonggorr and George Blake re-sign with the Queensland Reds

Wed, May 22, 2024, 11:06 AM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit
Queensland Reds duo Zane Nonggorr and George Blake have re-signed through 2026
Queensland Reds duo Zane Nonggorr and George Blake have re-signed through 2026

The front-row stocks at the Queensland Reds have just been given a 240kg lift with Wallaby Zane Nonggorr and George Blake both re-signing for two years.

The Queensland Rugby Union is delighted to today announce the twin signings through to the end of 2026 as part of planning to solidify the strength of the pack into the future.

Both Nonggorr, 23, and Blake, 22, are Queensland pathway products who have played integral roles in the upbeat progress of the Reds in Super Rugby Pacific this season.

For Nonggorr, signing his contract extension with the Reds and Rugby Australia gives him a platform to build on the strong start to his professional career.

He won five Test caps off the bench for the Wallabies in 2023 when the powerful 130kg tighthead prop’s potential was advanced.

“Definitely, it’s a great feeling to have this security for the next few years while I continue to develop my game,” Nonggorr said.

“It’s good to stay in Queensland. I grew up here and I want to contribute to the best-possible finish for the Reds.

“Having four international props (Peni Ravai, Alex Hodgman, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and Sef Fa’agase) at the club has helped me a lot.

“(Scrum coach) Zane Hilton is a very detailed coach. He cares with how passionate and invested he is to see the props improve.

“It not only means a lot of positive competition in our position but competition at every training session to help you develop.

“I’ve started, come off the bench and played club rugby with Bond University this season. All those different experiences add up and I just want to do my best for the team.

“Last year with the Wallabies was a massive experience for me with all the learnings I took out of it. It’s really helped me become a better player.”

Rugby Australia Director of High-Performance Peter Horne said re-signing the 2023 Wallaby was a positive.

“Zane is a promising young prop who has already had Test experience and is still at the start in his career," Horne said.

“His re-signing is a positive for Australian Rugby and we look forward to watching him continue to work hard in Queensland under Les Kiss and the Reds staff.”

Nonggorr and Blake shared in the GPS First XV premiership with The Southport School in 2019. They are friends and housemates off the field.

The 110kg Blake is that valuable front-row figure who can play prop or hooker.

He came off the bench to score a try at hooker for the Reds in their 28-19 loss to the Fijian Drua in Suva last Saturday.

“I’m excited for the future. It’s a good challenge to have to play both prop and hooker and nail your skills,” Blake said.

“I’m still young and learning the tricks of the front-row. It’s good to be doing that off the older boys at the Reds.

“Zane and I go back to TSS days. It’s good to have that strong friendship.”

Blake is excited about the International program being built by the QRU outside Super Rugby Pacific because it will be a perfect way to develop his skills with more game time.

“To go to Tonga in July is very exciting. Hopefully, I am part of that to have the chance to play in front of family and friends,” Blake said.

“The games against Wales and Tonga, matches in Japan and Europe…there are heaps of games and styles to look forward to because you will only improve.”

Sam Cordingley, the Reds General Manager - Professional Rugby, said the signing of two players for the front-row is significant for the future.

“Both Zane and George are important front-row figures and we are delighted to have them re-commit to Queensland Rugby. Both have come through the Queensland system and Academy program,” Cordingley said.

“Zane debuted for the Reds at 19 and he’s progressed to last year’s World Cup as another Wallaby developed within our program. He still has a lot of upside in his game which we expect we’ll see in the next two years.

“George has made a lot of sacrifices during his developing years. There are some quality props in the program who we hope he looks to challenge in the years ahead. His ability to play prop and hooker is valuable.”

Zane Nonggorr

Position: Prop

Height: 187cm

Weight: 130kg

Born: 30/03/2001

Birthplace: Cairns

Senior club: Bond University

School: The Southport School

Queensland Reds debut: 2020 v NSW Waratahs

Reds caps: 38

Wallabies debut: 2023 v South Africa, Pretoria

Wallabies caps: 5

George Blake

Position: Hooker-Prop

Height: 184cm

Weight: 110kg

Born: 11/06/2001

Birthplace: Cook Islands

Senior club: Bond University

School: The Southport School

Queensland Reds debut: 2023 v Western Force

Reds caps: 9