Rohan Saifoloi: The potential Reds No.10 who may be hiding in plain sight
By Sam Ryan; Photo Credit: QRU/Brendan Hertel
There’s a hell of a lot to be excited about at Ballymore.
Following a string of signings in recent weeks, the Reds have secured the best group of young players Australian rugby has seen in quite some time, with a number of them signing long term deals.
But one thing the Reds admit they’re still missing ahead of their 2020 campaign, is an experienced ball playing No.10.
Reds’ backs coach Jim McKay said earlier this week that while Hamish Stewart and Bryce Hegarty are both options at flyhalf for next season, the club would use the NRC to see if 20-year old Issac Lucas is also capable of filling that role.
Lucas is a genuine star and looks a carbon copy of a younger Matt Giteau, with potentially even more speed and attacking flair.
But he may not be a No.10.
And even if he is, the Reds may be doing him a disservice by throwing him in the deep end to lead a young Reds side that will still need time to develop, just as they did to Stewart and Jake McIntyre before him.
If they want to give Lucas more time to develop as a playmaker, or use him at fullback or off the bench, one player that could tick a lot of boxes for Queensland is 27-year old Brothers No.10 Rohan Saifoloi.
After leading Brothers to the Premier Rugby grand final this year, Saifoloi will start for QLD Country in their opening NRC clash this weekend against the Force and arguably has more to play for than any other Queensland player in the coming months.
After earning Australian Schoolboy honours, the Brisbane State High gun moved to Sydney and joined Shute Shield club Southern Districts.
In 2017, he toured the UK with the Samoan national side before returning to Brisbane and joining Brothers earlier this year.
In a new look side, the No.10 showed his class from his opening touch in Premier Rugby and was a key figure in the Brothers’ revival in 2019.
He’s not the biggest flyhalf out there, but he doesn’t miss many tackles, nor make mistakes and his poise could be invaluable in a young Reds side again in 2020.
The Reds will have plenty of attack next season and boast strike power right across the park. Saifoloi could be the general needed to steer them around and keep them out of trouble.
Plus he’s a Queensland junior who came through the local development system.
If Saifoloi plays to his potential in the coming weeks, he might be hard to look past for next season.