Five Reds Academy products elevated to Queensland Reds squad

Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 9:30 PM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit

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 to secure your seat for the 2021 Super Rugby season.  

Josh Flook
Position: Centre
Height: 186cm
Weight: 89kg
Born: 22/09/2001
Place of birth: Randwick, NSW
Senior Club: Brothers 
School: St. Joseph’s Nudgee College
Representative Honours: Queensland U16s (2017), Queensland Schoolboys (2018), Australia Schoolboys & U18s (2019), Australia U20s (2020), Queensland (2020-)
Super Rugby Debut: 2020 v Rebels, Sydney (Queensland)
Super Rugby Caps: 4

Zane Nonggorr
Position: Tighthead Prop
Height: 186cm
Weight: 126kg 
Born: 30/03/2001
Place of birth: Cairns, QLD
Senior Club: Bond University
School: The Southport School
Representative Honours: Queensland Schoolboys (2018), Australian Schoolboys Barbarians (2018), Queensland Academy U18s (2019), Australia Schoolboys & U18s (2019), Reds U20s Academy (2020), Australia U20s (2020), Queensland (2020-)
Super Rugby Debut: 2020 v Waratahs, Sydney (Queensland)
Super Rugby Caps: 3

Mac Grealy
Position: Fullback
Height: 180cm
Weight: 86kg 
Born: 06/03/2002
Place of birth: Toowoomba, QLD
Senior Club: University of Queensland
School: Downlands College
Representative Honours: Queensland Schoolboys (2019), Reds U18s Academy (2019) 
Super Rugby Debut: *yet to make Super Rugby debut 
Super Rugby Caps: *yet to make Super Rugby debut

Kalani Thomas
Position: Scrumhalf
Height: 178cm
Weight: 84kg
Born: 18/04/2002
Place of birth: Darwin, NT
Senior Club: Souths
School: Ipswich Grammar School
Representative Honours: Australia Schoolboys & U18s (2019), Reds U18s Academy (2019)
Super Rugby Debut: *yet to make Super Rugby debut 
Super Rugby Caps: *yet to make Super Rugby debut

Ilaisa Droasese 
Position: Outside Back
Height: 187cm
Weight: 91kg
Born: 13/09/1999
Place of birth: Ba Mission, Fiji
Senior Club: Wests
School: Cuvu College, Fiji
Representative Honours: Fiji Schoolboys (2017), Tuva Youth, Fiji Coral Coast 7s (2018), Nadroga U20s (2018), Queensland Country U19s URC (2018), Fiji U20s (2019), Brisbane City NRC (2019)
Super Rugby Debut: *yet to make Super Rugby debut 
Super Rugby Caps: *yet to make Super Rugby debut