Queensland’s Rugby Pathway has continued to deliver the next generation of elite talent with five Reds Academy players handed contracts with the Queensland Reds.
Josh Flook, Zane Nonggorr, Mac Grealy, Kalani Thomas and Ilaisa Droasese have all been elevated to the Queensland playing squad from this year.
Nonggorr and Flook both made their Queensland debuts last year during the Vodafone Super Rugby AU season, while Grealy, Thomas and Droasese all trained with the Reds squad during 2020.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “We’re excited to have these five guys stay in our program for the next two years.
“They’re all exciting players and we can’t wait to see their rugby careers progress here at Queensland.
“Their development as footballers is a real credit to the hard work of Paul Carozza and our Reds Academy. The time, knowledge and also care they give these young men ensures the Academy continues to produce elite rugby talent in Queensland,” said Thorn.
A part of Nudgee College’s premiership winning 1st XV side in 2018, Flook went on to represent Queensland Schoolboys the same year before captaining the Australian Schoolboys and U18s team in 2019 where he guided them to their first victory in New Zealand since 2018.
Earlier this year the 19-year-old represented the Junior Wallabies before being called-in to the Reds squad as an injury cover replacement.
In Round 2 of Super Rugby AU, Flook made his Queensland debut against the Rebels at Brookvale Oval. He played a further three games for the Reds before a shoulder injury against the Force on the Gold Coast sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Like Flook, Nonggorr also proved a premiership force at high school winning 1st XV titles with The Southport School in 2017 and 2019 that was highlighted by captaining the 2019 side to an undefeated season.
During his time at TSS, the frontrower also represented Queensland and Australia at Schoolboys level and was later a part of the Junior Wallabies squad in 2020.
Nonggorr was brought into the Reds squad during the Super Rugby AU season as an injury cover replacement and went on to make his Queensland debut in Round 6 against New South Wales at the SCG.
Following Queensland’s initial COVID-19 lockdown and isolation period, Grealy and Thomas were invited to train with the Reds during Queensland’s second pre-season of 2020 ahead of the Super Rugby AU season.
Heavily pursued by NRL clubs, Grealy elected to remain in Rugby and develop his game at Ballymore.
He was crowned the 2019 Queensland Schoolboy player of the year after captaining Downlands College 1st XV side, while Thomas was also a schoolboys sensation - scoring seven tries in eight games for Ipswich Grammar in the same year.
Thomas also represented Australia in the 2019 Australian Schoolboys & U18s Tour of New Zealand alongside Nonggorr and Flook.
Like Grealy, Droasese was also in the sights of the NRL after an outstanding Junior Rugby World Cup with Fiji.
He fast made a name for himself in his home country and it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of Reds Academy and Queensland coaching staff in Brisbane.
He represented Fiji at both Schoolboys and U20s level and proved just as damaging in the game’s smaller format – winning the Lote Tuqiri medal as the best player in the U19s division at the 2018 Fijian Coral Coast 7s tournament.
He moved from Fiji to Brisbane in 2018 and played colts for Wests and also Queensland Country U19s, before he was selected the following year for Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) under Reds assistant coach Jim McKay.
There’s set to be further squad announcements ahead of the 2021 season, including more Queensland Pathway products.
Queensland Reds memberships are now on sale. Head to www.reds.rugby/membership to secure your seat for the 2021 Super Rugby season.