With Brad Thron’s commendable stint at Ballymore coming to an end last year, the Reds are preparing to usher in a new era with Les Kiss in charge.
But for the Reds to take some steps forward this season, the Queenslanders need the right people leading the way. For Kiss, two men emerged as proven candidates.
Wallabies Tate McDermott and Liam Wright will pave the way for the Queenslanders as they look to build on their eighth-place finish last time around.
“It’s important to allow a thorough process and clear thought when making a decision of this magnitude, but I am extremely pleased to be announcing Liam and Tate as our 2024 co-captains today,” Kiss said in a statement.
“Forming relationships with them both over the last few months at Ballymore has been a fantastic experience.
“They are outstanding young men on and off the field, who share an immense passion for the team and the state of Queensland, and genuine care for our organisation and their peers.
“They are determined to deliver for our fans and, supported by a squad rich in both potential and experience, they will wear our jersey with pride and everything in their power to achieve success.”
It should be of no surprise really to see either man named as a co-captain. McDermott has developed into a respected leader, not just with the Reds but Wallabies as well.
McDermott captained Australia during last year’s Bledisloe Cup Test at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium after cementing his place as the nation’s number one halfback.
With 22 tries in 79 Reds caps, as well as 29 Tests for Australia, there’s no denying that McDermott will continue to play a pivotal role for the Queenslanders in 2024.
“I feel honoured to be asked to lead our group alongside my good mate Liam again this season,” McDermott explained.
“I’m enthusiastic about where our team can go and bringing the fans on the journey with us is something that I care deeply about.
“It’s an utter privilege for ‘Wrongaz’ and I to lead this club forward and is something I’ll never take for granted.”
McDermott debuted for the Queensland Reds in the second round of the 2018 season against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park. But he wasn’t the only debutant that night.
Backrower Liam Wright ran out in Reds colours for the first time at Super Rugby level that night, and the pair have both been mainstays of the team ever since.
Wright has played five Tests for the Wallabies, dating back to a debut against the All Blacks at Eden Park in 2019. The leader has also played 69 games for Queensland and scored 10 tries.
“Leading and serving this group is a great privilege, and I will work hard to help make us a team that Queensland and its fans can be proud of,” Wright added.
“Les and his coaches bring a new, exciting dynamic that I’m eager to learn from and add to.
“It is a genuine pleasure getting to do this side-by-side with my good mate Tate, and I can’t wait to build on the foundations and cohesion we have developed in the roles and see how far we can go as a team in 2024.”
The Queensland Reds will kick off their 2024 Super Rugby Pacific campaign – and their new era under Les Kiss – at home against arch-rivals the NSW Waratahs on Saturday, February 24.