A Residents team to match any other
It is a team with a proud history, but one that is rarely celebrated.
Each year, the XXXX Queensland Residents team is selected from players participating in the Intrust Super Cup and for many, it has proven to be the platform to go on and achieve the greatest honours our game has to offer.
Premiership-winning players and coaches, Test representatives, Origin heroes and NRL regulars have all worn the Queensland Residents jersey with pride, including quite a few Blues and a handful of Kiwis.
To be eligible for selection in the Residents team, players must have spent the majority of the season to date playing in the Intrust Super Cup and selector Murray Hurst says it is an honour players take great pride in achieving.
“The players themselves, when they get into camp they see it as quite an achievement to be selected,” said Hurst, who coached the Queensland Residents team in the mid-1990s.
“Cameron Cullen was 18th man last year and he was absolutely accepting of everything in camp and he was humbled to be there.
“His form since then speaks for itself, he has played NRL, but he places a great importance on it.”
When Hurst coached the Residents team two decades ago, Queensland players were drawn from the then State League with no NRL affiliations and revelled in the chance to match themselves against Sydney-based players with first grade experience.
Eleven of his team in 1994 went on to play in the top tier a year later and with ongoing discussion about future pathways, Hurst is hopeful that in future the Residents fixture will again feature as part of the State of Origin schedule.
Ahead of Sunday's clash with the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Residents, I thought I would highlight the quality of players to have worn the Queensland Residents jersey with a team picked from the past 10 years.
1. Josh Hoffman (Redcliffe): Less than a year after making his NRL debut Hoffman was chosen for Residents and has since gone on to play five Tests for New Zealand and is nearing 150 NRL games.
2. Curtis Rona (Mackay): Kiwi-born Rona grew up in Perth before moving to Sydney and then North Queensland where his form for the Cutters earned him a Residents jersey in 2013. Two years later he finished second to Semi Radradra as the NRL's leading try-scorer.
3. Chris Walker (Ipswich): Yes his six Origin matches for Queensland may have been long behind him but when he played for Queensland Residents in 2007 Walker remained an exceptional talent with plenty more NRL football ahead of him.
4. Rod Jensen (Pride): His 102-game NRL career may have come to a close two years earlier but Rod Jensen remained a superb competitor in Intrust Super Cup for a number of years to come and was a member of the 2009 Residents team that triumphed 34-6.
5. Kyle Feldt (Townsville): Such has been Feldt's rapid rise that this time last year he was playing for Residents looking for a way into the Cowboys team. Twelve months on and he has scored a try that will live forever in Grand Final folklore, claimed a premiership and is on the verge of Origin selection.
6. Daly Cherry-Evans (Sunshine Coast): After starring for the Sunshine Coast, 'DCE' returned to Manly in 2011 and delivered them a premiership also. Has since gone on to play for Queensland and Australia.
7. Trent Hodkinson (Sunshine Coast): A Blue beyond borders, Hodkinson played for the Queensland Residents in 2009 and then five years later played a critical role in breaking the Maroons' Origin stranglehold.
8. Adam Blair (Norths): Extraordinary to think that in his early days at the Melbourne Storm Blair began his career in Australia playing for Norths, since going on to play more than 200 NRL games, 34 Tests and captaining his country.
9. Jake Granville (Wynnum Manly): A two-time Residents representative in 2012-2013, Granville continued to work away in the Intrust Super Cup before finally being given an opportunity to shine with the Cowboys under Paul Green in 2015.
10. Darcy Lussick (Sunshine Coast): Another member of Sunshine Coast's premiership-winning team of 2009, Lussick is nearing 100 first grade games and played for City Origin in 2014.
11. Dave Taylor (Aspley): The hulking frame of Taylor may have appeared briefly in the Intrust Super Cup but it was enough to earn a Residents jersey on his way to 170 NRL games, eight Origins and a solitary Test for Australia.
12. Joel Thompson (Souths Logan): A year after his NRL debut, Thompson began the 2009 season with Souths Logan and earned a place in the Residents team with some strong performances. By Round 18 he was a permanent member of the Canberra Raiders squad and has since played more than 140 NRL games along with Country Origin and Indigenous All Stars honours.
13. Rod Griffin (Ipswich): 'Rod the Bod' was a key figure in the Jets' premiership charge last season, riding it all the way to a contract with the Wests Tigers in 2016 and selection in the Kumuls team to play Fiji this weekend.
14. Jamie Buhrer (Sunshine Coast): Hampered by injuries in recent seasons, Buhrer is another to have pulled on the Queensland Residents jersey (2010) before going on to play Origin for New South Wales (2012).
15. Scott Bolton (North Queensland Young Guns): Bolton made his NRL debut with North Queensland less than 12 months after playing for Residents in 2006 and has since played more than 150 NRL games.
16. Jarrod Wallace (Norths): A member of the 2015 Emerging Origin camp, Wallace represented Residents in 2012 and has passed 50 NRL games with the Brisbane Broncos.
17. Ben Spina (Pride): A key member of the Pride's premiership team of 2014, Spina toiled away in the Intrust Super Cup before finally earning an NRL contract with the Cowboys. A member of the 2013 Residents team, Spina captained the side in last year's 36-32 win.
Coach: Paul Green (Wynnum Manly): Proving it's not only the players who benefit from an apprenticeship in the Intrust Super Cup, Green carried his success with Wynnum Manly forward to the Cowboys, leading them to their maiden Telstra Premiership in 2015.
A former editor of Big League, Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for NRL.com.
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