The St.George Queensland Reds have secured the signatures of exciting backline trio Mac Grealy, Kalani Thomas and Isaac Henry for the next two seasons.
The Queensland pathway products will remain at Ballymore through 2023 after all three made their Super Rugby debuts this year.
Grealy and Thomas were recently selected in this year’s Junior Wallabies squad having both progressed through the Reds Academy along with Henry who impressed following standout performances with Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) and with Wests in Queensland Premier Rugby.
“I’m very fortunate and grateful to remain at Ballymore and in my home state with this group of men,” said Henry.
“To make my debut for Queensland and be a part of a Super Rugby AU title this year has only fuelled the fire to achieve more success in the maroon jersey.”
“To have the opportunity to continue with the Reds is really humbling and exciting,” said Grealy.
“Representing Queensland this year was a very proud moment. I have enjoyed every moment so far and to be able to continue to grow with such a great group of men is something I’m really looking forward to.”
“To be given another year in this environment and get another chance to represent Queensland is exciting,” Thomas said.
“I’m more determined to develop my skillsets and I’m hungry for more success in maroon.”
Reds General Manager – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “It’s been pleasing to see outstanding Queensland talent like Kalani and Mac progress so quickly.
“They have earned their placed in the Reds Squad and it’s an exciting future for them.
“Isaac is another Reds academy product – his path though has been a different one having spent a year down in Canberra.
“His performances in their local competition warranted a chance in Super Rugby and if you think back to his Reds debut match against the Chiefs, he has certainly made the most of his opportunities.”
Following Queensland’s COVID-19 lockdown and isolation period last year, 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 and went on to make his Queensland debut in the penultimate round of this year’s Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition against the Blues at Suncorp Stadium where the 19-year-old was thrusted into the starting side at fullback.
Thomas was also a schoolboys sensation - scoring seven tries in eight games for Ipswich Grammar in 2019.
In the same year he also represented his country in the Australian Schoolboys & U18s Tour of New Zealand alongside Queensland team-mates Zane Nonggorr and Josh Flook.
The 18-year-old made his Super Rugby debut off the bench in Round 6 of Super Rugby AU this year against the Waratahs in Sydney and went on to deliver the match-winning pass in Queensland’s title victory over the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium.
A Brisbane Boys College product, Henry represented Queensland Country in the 2018 U19s Rugby Championship before being named in the extended squad for the Junior Wallabies the following year.
After he lit up Queensland Premier Rugby and finished as the competition’s highest points scorer, Henry was selected for Brisbane City in the NRC under Reds assistant coach Jim McKay and went on to score 20 points (2T, 2C, 2P) in his seven games for City during the 2019 season.
Henry travelled south to train with the Brumbies in 2020, but a call came in the off-season to return home and sign with the Reds – an offer too good to refuse for the Brisbane-born playmaker.
He was unlucky not to make his Super Rugby debut in this year’s Super Rugby AU Grand Final after being named in the matchday 23 but didn’t get any game-time.
A week later he did as the 21-year-old came off the bench in Queensland’s Trans-Tasman season opener in Dunedin and made an immediate impact with his hard-running and solid defence.
Two games later Henry made his starting debut against the Chiefs in Townsville and scored a memorable double as he went on to start at inside centre for the Reds’ remaining two matches of 2021.
Following a memorable Super Rugby season, the trio are currently proving a handful for their opposition in Queensland Premier Rugby with Grealy plus Thomas (University of Queensland) and also Henry (Wests) all looking to lift another piece of silverware in 2021.