Former Redcliffe coach Gary O’Brien and ex-Warriors and Parramatta player Mark Tookey have been reappointed to lead the Queensland Universities team in 2016.
The appointments of O’Brien as head coach and Tookey as his assistant were announced today as applications for the Queensland Universities team set to open later this week.
The Queensland Universities team will take on their NSW counterparts in the interstate challenge at Suzuki Stadium, home of the Easts Tigers, at 4pm on Saturday, October 8.
That match will double as the selection trial for the Australian Universities team to represent the nation at next year’s Students World Cup to be held in July in Sydney.
Former Canberra Raiders’ and New Zealand Warriors mentor Matt Elliott has already been appointed as the Australian Universities team’s head coach for that tournament.
O’Brien and Tookey coached the Queensland Universities team to an impressive 24-10 win over NSW Universities in Sydney last year.
The pair are looking for a similar result this year, and are hoping to start with some of the Queensland-based members of the Australian Universities team that beat New Zealand 2-0 in a Test series across the ditch last October.
Easts Tigers’ hooker Chris Ostwald, Tweed Heads’ Ethan Price and Redcliffe half Mitch Wilson are high on the hit list.
Wynnum Manly backrower Sam Harrold and Sunshine Coast product Nick Timm were outstanding in last year’s series win over the Kiwis.
“I am hopeful those guys that went over to New Zealand and performed so well are willing to do the job for Queensland Universities again this year,” O’Brien said.
“They can form a base we can build on and add to for 2016 to try and get the best possible Queensland team together.
“There is a chance to represent Australia in a home World Cup next year, which would be a wonderful opportunity.”
The Queensland Universities team is open to tertiary students who are studying towards a diploma level qualification or higher.
The team will enter a four-day camp to prepare for the match from Wednesday, October 5 in Brisbane.
Applications for the team will open later this week through the Australian University Sport website, with any enquiries to be directed to Universities Rugby League Queensland chairman Trad McLean at firstname.lastname@example.org.