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The Queensland Rugby Union today announced the McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City squad and coaching staff for the 2017 National Rugby Championship (NRC).
Seventeen players have been selected directly from Queensland Premier Rugby, with all nine clubs represented.
The announcement comes ahead of the first round of Queensland Premier Rugby finals, with 21 Brisbane City players in action this Sunday as Sunnybank and Wests clash in the minor semi-final, while University of Queensland and GPS will go head-to-head in the major semi-final.
The squad also features 18 players with Super Rugby experience and 18 returning Brisbane City players from last season.
There are also five capped Test players including Wallabies allocated players Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt, along with Kane Douglas, Samu Kerevi and Nick Frisby.
University of Queensland Premier Grade head coach Mick Heenan will guide Brisbane City for the first time, having coached the Premier Rugby powerhouse since 2009.
Under Heenan's direction UQ has competed in the Queensland Premier Rugby finals every year since 2010 and has won the title three times. More recently, UQ finished the 2017 season as minor premiers, lifting the Horsley Cup for the second-straight season.
Head Coach Mick Heenan said: "It's a really good blend of some old hard heads like Dan Gorman and some young exciting talent. Reece Hewat is young guy that I'm particularly excited about.
"I'm happy with the players we've got from the professional environment. I think there's some blokes who had a good Reds' season and some that haven't made it on the field but have had good seasons playing for their clubs.
"You're always looking for ways to improve your coaching skill set. The NRC provides the opportunity to work with both professional players and the best from club, so I'm excited for the challenge."
Heenan will be assisted in the role by GPS' assistant coach Elwee Prinsloo, who was assistant coach of the Perth Spirit side that finished as runner-up to Nick Stiles' Brisbane City in 2015, before claiming the 2016 NRC title.
Brisbane City Lock Michael Richards said: “I’m really pleased about earning selection again. It’s reward for effort and now I have an opportunity to be around professional blokes and learn what they do on a day-to-day basis.”
Now entering its fourth year, the NRC is an exciting brand of Rugby featuring eight teams from across the country and for the first time ever, a team from Fiji.
Brisbane City are the competition's most successful side, winning the inaugural competition in 2014 before defending its with an undefeated run in 2015.
The 2017 season will kick off at Ballymore Stadium with Brisbane City hosting the Fijian team on Saturday 2 September, at 3:00pm.
For the first time in 2017, Brisbane City will take some of its home matches out to local clubs. University of Queensland will host Brisbane City v Canberra Vikings on 16 September and Wests' new Sci-Fleet Stadium will host Brisbane City v Melbourne Rising on 14 October.
For more information, visit www.redsrugby.com.au.
Head Coach: Mick Heenan (University of Queensland)
Assistant Coach: Elwee Prinsloo (GPS)
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Kieran Maguire (GPS)
Physiotherapist: Kylie Baldwin (Wests)
Team Doctor: Martin Smith (Easts)
Video Analyst: Teale Pyne
Team Manager: Michael O'Reilley (University of Queensland)
Media Manager: Thomas Lobban (QRU)
19 AUGUST 2018