Brisbane City 2016 NRC Season Preview – With Rod Seib

150910 - EDIT Brisbane City fullback Karmichael Hunt - Brisbane City v North Harbour Rays - Photo Credit QRU Sportography - 091

Brisbane City are the two-time defending premiers of the National Rugby Championship and following an undefeated season in 2015, the Queensland side are on a 14 game winning streak – their last loss was in round seven in 2014.

This year could prove to be their toughest yet however with a number of their seasoned players moving on or unavailable and a new head coach at the helm. Former assistant coach Rod Seib has stepped up to replace Nick Stiles and has inherited a squad without the experience of Liam Gill and Jake Schatz and likely to be without Wallabies stars Samu Kerevi for large chunks of the season.


Nonetheless, Seib is optimistic about the 2016 season for Brisbane City and gave Rugby News his thoughts on the campaign ahead.

Overview – With Rod Seib

“There’s certainly a lot of guys stepping out of club rugby and trying to test themselves at the next level. Particularly this weekend with our backline, there are a lot of guys there who haven’t had exposure at a higher level before. So for them it’s really exciting to see what they can do in the NRC competition.”

“Preparation has been very short so content wise we’ve tried to keep things as light as we can to try to make it easy for the players to gel together, but it is very short. All teams have the same challenge there to prepare in a short space of time but we’re lucky in that there’s been some continuity with some of the players and some of the coaches, so we’ve been able to build upon previous seasons, but in saying that, we’ve got nine new blokes in the side as well. “

“The leaders of the group – Sam Talakai, Andrew Ready, Jake McIntyre – guys who have really made the most of the NRC over the last couple of years and have got opportunities off the back of the NRC, they’re the guys I’ve sort of leant on to be leading the guys so far and they’ve done a tremendous job. Sam (Talakai) is a natural leader, so it was an easy decision to make him captain and he’s been really well supported by some of the other senior players in the club.”

How will Brisbane City play?

“I think you’d be crazy to try and change too much in terms of the way we play, particularly given the limited preparation, I think we’ll try to keep it pretty similar. In saying that, we’re lucky that I’ve been doing attack in the last couple of years and with Shane (Arnold) doing defence last year, we work pretty well together and so we haven’t tried to change too much this year because we found what we were doing together really complemented each other quite well. So to try and re-invent the wheel would be a bit of a wasted effort.”

Player(s) to watch?

“Someone like a Michael Gunn, I would expect him to do really big things. He hasn’t played an awful amount of rugby, you know he was interrupted with injury last season and the year before that he was playing behind Liam Gill, so he’s someone who everything he is saying and doing is telling me he’s going to have a fantastic season and lead by example out on the park.”

“In terms of other guys from the club scene, someone like Luke Beauchamp who has been a club stalwart for Brothers, his work ethic is second to none. So I expect him in the back row to do good things.”

“In terms of the backline, guys like Jake Strachan, for example, he’ll be starting at 10 this week with Jake McIntyre out. For Jake (Strachan), who had his first year of Premier rugby this year, it’s another step up and he seems to be coping with that elevation quite easily, so be interesting to see what eh can do.”

“Someone like Alex Gibbon who is part of that wider Reds group, his attitude is fantastic. You know that he is going to give it absolutely everything every time he runs on to the park, so I am expecting big things from him as well. He’s really hungry and when you see guys who want to succeed and want to do well and want to get involved in a game, it bodes well. He’s got a lot of skills to offer as well, so he’ll go looking for the ball and I have no doubt he’ll have a successful year.”

Goal/aspirations?

“We haven’t spoke of winning anything, we’ve just been focused on this week’s game. It can be a bit of a cliché but there are a lot of new blokes in to the side so I would suggest that trying to talk about three-peats or anything like that is a bit of a wasted effort. With the consolidation of the Sydney teams, you can be guaranteed that they’ll be stronger and they’ll be bolstered, there’s no real easy games throughout the season.”

“So for us, it’s really trying to get the momentum going this weekend with a win against NSW Country and I tell you what, if we go well against them it will bode well for a very good season and will lift our expectations of what we can do, because I expect Country to be very, very strong. But, every game will be a challenge so if we can fight our way in to finals contention, then anything can happen in finals. We’ll just try to be there in the finals.”

Squad

FORWARDS:

Feao Fotuaika, Tonga Ma’afu, Sam Talakai (C), Pettowa Paraka, Markus Vanzati, Matt Mafi, Andrew Ready, Kane Douglas, David Findlay-Henaway, Jeremiah Lynch, Brendan Mitchell, Lukhan Tui, Luke Beauchamp, Jack DeGuingand, Michael Gunn, Leroy Houston, Isi Naisarani, Tuaina Tualima, Criff Tupou.

BACKS:

Nick Frisby, Harry Nucifora, Moses Sorovi, Jake McIntyre, Jake Strachan, Levi Aumua, Samu Kerevi, Nathan Russell, Toby White, Alex Gibbon, Karmichael Hunt, Patrick James, Chris Kuridrani, Brad Lacey, Junior Laloifi.