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Queensland Rugby Union today announced the squad and coaching staff for McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City’s 2018 National Rugby Championship campaign.
The 36-man squad features a healthy mix of professional and grassroots, with 14 players selected from the St.George Queensland Reds squad and the remaining 22 drawn from Queensland Premier Rugby.
As was the case last season, all nine of Queensland’s Hospital Challenge Cup clubs are represented in the squad. Half the squad have previously represented Brisbane City, while 14 players are in line for their NRC debuts.
University of Queensland’s Mick Heenan will resume the role of head coach, after taking it on for the first time last season. Heenan is one of the most successful coaches in recent club history, having steered UQ the finals every year since 2010, winning three titles and claiming the minor premiership for the last two years.
Heenan will be joined in the coaching staff by returning assistant Elwee Prinsloo (GPS) and new appointment Elia Tuqiri (Souths).
The announcement came ahead of the first week of Hospital Challenge Cup finals, with 22 Brisbane City players in action this weekend, along with all three coaches.
Heenan said: “It’s pretty exciting to be so close to the NRC season again. We’ve managed to pull together a diverse group, which is probably an indication of how competitive the club season has been this year.
“We’ve got a mix of guys who can roll up their sleeves and others who offer some x-factor out wide and you need both those elements to be successful in this competition.
“Elwee and I were keen to have another crack at the competition and it’s great to add Elia to the coaching mix as well. I’ve known him for a long time and he’ll bring plenty of knowledge to the role.
“It was tough to finish the way we did last season, just missing out on finals. Consistency throughout the season hurt us, but we felt we were on the right track. We’ll build on that experience.”
Brisbane City will take more games to the grassroots than ever before in 2018, with all three home games being hosted by Brisbane clubs Norths, Wests and Easts.
The NRC, which runs from September 1 to October 27, is a more streamlined competition than previous years with eight clubs - including a stand-alone Sydney franchise - now represented.
City’s season gets underway with a home game against the Western Force at Hugh Courtney Oval (Norths) on Sunday 2 September at the family-friendly kickoff time of 3:00pm.
FOX SPORTS is the only place to watch every game of the NRC with no ad-breaks during play. Two games per week will be broadcast on TV, with the remaining two games available to stream LIVE via foxsports.com.au/live and the FOX SPORTS App.
Head coach: Mick Heenan (University of Queensland)
Assistant coach: Elia Tuqiri (Souths)
Assistant coach: Elwee Prinsloo (GPS)
Strength and Conditioning coach: Daniel Cooper (QRU)
Physiotherapist: Kylie Baldwin (Wests)
Team Doctor: Dr Martin Smith (Easts)
Video analyst: Innes Strydom (QRU)
Team manager: Michael O’Rielley (University of Queensland)
Media manager: Tom Kennedy (QRU)
14 NOVEMBER 2018