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Simon Brittain-Snowden in his time with Norths.

The XXXX Chairman's Challenge brings together the best of the best in South East Queensland's A Grade rugby league.

Brisbane Red, Brisbane Blue, Gold Coast and Ipswich go head-to-head in this annual representative carnival, fighting it out for the chance to go straight to the XXXX League Championship final.

It's a chance to be crowned the top team in the region, for players to represent their hometowns and to press their case for the next steps in their career.

Ahead of this weekend's carnival, we have profiled one player from each region to see what makes them tick, what this opportunity means to them and who they think will be their biggest competition.

Caleb Daunt - Brisbane Blue

Clubs: Beenleigh Pride / Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Age: 25

Position: Five-eighth

Caleb Daunt representing the Queensland Rangers.
Caleb Daunt representing the Queensland Rangers.

Born and bred: Brisbane. I was an Easts Mt Gravatt junior.

Favourite team growing up: I was a South Sydney Rabbitohs fan growing up. That was my first jersey as a kid. My Nan and Pop were in Sydney at the markets. There were Roosters and Rabbitohs jerseys and they rung Dad to ask which one and he said, "take your pick". So Rabbitohs it was. 

Chairman's Challenge history: This is my first time playing representative for this region. I played the 47th Battalion in 2019 for the Sunshine Coast and from there, made the Central Crows and XXXX Queensland Rangers. I was picked to play in last year's Chairman's Challenge, but had to pull out just before the carnival because I signed with the Central Queensland Capras and had to move. This is my first year that I’ll actually get to play.

What this opportunity means to you: It’s exciting. There’s plenty of quality players in the Brisbane Rugby League competition this year. Any chance to represent the BRL region at the next level is exciting. Being a Brisbane boy as well, it means a little bit more to play for the city where you grew up. I was in the Central Queensland region and you don’t have that same connection when it’s not your home region. SEQ is where I grew up as a kid and where I played all my football until I was 17. It’s special to represent the area that’s home.

Career highlight: Probably either my Cup debut in 2018 for the Sunshine Coast or the Queensland Rangers jersey that I got. Making that Queensland team, it was special. It was my first Queensland jersey and it was exciting to be selected and get the opportunity to represent the state.

Biggest career challenge: I found it tough to move away from home when I signed with the Capras. I enjoyed the opportunity there and don’t regret it at all, but anytime you move away from home and live alone, you don’t have that same support network. I really liked my time with the Capras, but I struggled being away from home. That was the toughest move. Sunshine Coast wasn’t that far away and it was easily accessible. I only spent four to five months up in Central Queensland. I learnt plenty from it. 

Career goals: I want to make the most of the opportunities I get at the Hostplus Cup level. I’ve played a couple of seasons now – it’s my fifth at this level. I’ve played a fair few games, but being consistent and making the most of any opportunities I get at that level is what I want to do now.

Chairman's Challenge goals: I want to work on my leadership. I’m playing in the halves and it's a position in the team that requires a fair bit of leadership. I’ve started to develop a bit of a voice, being a strong leader around the group. I want to provide a bit of experience and leadership around the group.

Hardest opponent this weekend: Brisbane Red. Knowing the strength of the BRL comp this year, they will be a tough side. There’s also a lot of Hostplus Cup experience in both Brisbane squads. Knowing the talent that’s in that Brisbane team, that’s our focus initially. We’re worried about getting through that first.

Teammate to watch: I have two names. Manaia Cherrington has played at the NRL level and he’s been quite a leader around the boys and is a very skillful player. Secondly, my centre Zak Taibi. He's in good form. From the few bits I’ve seen of the BRL comp, he’s playing good football for Bulimba and he works hard. He does the little things well in his game. I played with him as a junior so we connected way back when we were 13-year-olds.

Simon Brittain-Snowden - Brisbane Red

Club: West Brisbane Panthers

Age: 25

Position: Five-eighth

Simon Brittain-Snowden in his time with Norths.
Simon Brittain-Snowden in his time with Norths.

Born and bred: I was born and raised in Melbourne in Dandenong. That’s where I played all my younger football, all my rugby league. I moved up to Coffs Harbour about five years ago and then came to Brisbane in 2019 and joined the Norths Devils.

Favourite team growing up: I always loved the Melbourne Storm. I loved Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Greg Inglis.

Chairman's Challenge history: This is my first year. Last year I got hit with a shoulder injury that took me out for the year. But the first I heard of the Chairman's Challenge was in 2019. It was something I really wanted to try to make. I’ve worked hard to make it.

What this opportunity means to you: It means a lot. Me coming up to Brissie to play in the competition up here was always something I wanted to do when I was younger. Queensland and NSW are strong rugby league communities. There was only one competition in the whole of Melbourne for rugby league. It didn’t have many opportunities unless you were with the Melbourne Storm. I wanted to have a crack up here, so to now make the Brisbane team and to represent Brissie means a lot. 

Career highlight: There's two. The first would be back in Melbourne, playing in the under 18s SG Ball. That was one of my big achievements down there. Then in Coffs Harbour, I won that league down there, that grand final with the Coffs Harbour Comets.

Biggest career challenge: It was last year when I hurt my shoulder in a trial with Norths Devils against Redcliffe Dolphins. I had to get surgery on it. That put me out for the year. It was a rough journey there. That was my lowlight.

Career goals: At the moment, it is to try to get signed into the Hostplus Cup and get some consistent games in Cup. I want to play some good footy and enjoy it. Last year, I just went off the rails with injury and I lost the love for it a bit. This year, I want to focus and enjoy it again.

Chairman's Challenge goals: For this weekend, it is simply to play good footy. I want to play the best I can and play well for my team and do everything for the boys that have made the Brisbane Red team with me.

Hardest opponent this weekend: It will be our first game against the other Brisbane team. We really want bragging rights. If we knock them off, that will be our highlight.

Teammate to watch: Michael Butson. He’s a real character. He’s our prop or lock. We call him Beyblade because he’s always bouncing off people.

Zane Harris - Gold Coast

Club: Southport Tigers

Age: 22

Position: Halfback

Zane Harris. Photo: Nic Hall/QRL
Zane Harris. Photo: Nic Hall/QRL

Born and bred: I was born in Sydney and moved up to the Gold Coast when I was eight. I played with the Burleigh Bears here before I moved back to Sydney when I was 18.

Favourite team growing up: Parramatta.

Chairman's Challenge history: I haven’t played before, so this is my first time.

What this opportunity means to you: It’s obviously a good opportunity to show that what I’ve been able to put forward at club footy, I can do at a higher level. It's good to know I'm being noticed and my Round 1 and Round 2 performances (in Rugby League Gold Coast) were taken into account.

Career highlight: It was probably playing the NRL trial last year for Manly. I've been in the Roosters and Sea Eagles systems and it was really good to get that opportunity. It was such a good week leading up to the game and a really good experience playing some first grade.

Biggest career challenge: It was probably when I broke my jaw in 2019 and missed out on finals for Jersey Flegg with the Roosters. It happened in Round 19 and I was out for the rest of season. It was horrible watching the boys play finals and knowing I couldn't be out there.

Career goals: Hopefully I can get back into an NRL system, but first, my goal is just to enjoy footy and to strive to be better. I have had times when footy wasn’t as fun as other times, so I want to enjoy it. Once it’s not fun anymore, it’s a lot different.

Chairman's Challenge goals: I just love playing footy at the moment. It’s been such a joy being back on the field and it’s a lot more laidback to what I’ve been playing down south in the last few years. To be with a new bunch of boys this weekend will be good.

Hardest opponent this weekend: It has to be one of the Brisbane teams. We're playing Brisbane Blue and they’ve always been strong. Brisbane in general has such a good connection with the upper grades and their feeder clubs and we'll see some of those players this weekend.

Teammate to watch: Brock Hamill on the edge. He’s got good footwork and can bust through the line and find himself in open space a fair bit.

Isimeeli Hafoka - Ipswich Diggers

Club: Swifts Bluebirds

Age: 32

Position: Halfback and Ipswich captain

Isimeeli Hafoka in his time with the Ipswich Jets.
Isimeeli Hafoka in his time with the Ipswich Jets.

Born and bred: I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and I moved over to Australia when I was 20. I went straight to Ipswich, to the Fassifern Bombers.

Favourite team growing up: The North Queensland Cowboys. I liked watching Matty Bowen.

Chairman's Challenge history: I made my debut in 2012 and have played in it four or fives times since. I haven't won the title yet.

What this opportunity means to you: It's good to play with the other guys in the Ipswich Rugby League competition instead of playing against each other like we normally do. I always hope I get picked. I like playing against the Gold Coast and Brisbane teams. They always give us a hiding, but it's good experience.

Career highlight: Playing Cup with the Ipswich Jets. I enjoyed my time there, it was pretty cool. I got to play against NRL players on the way up and retired NRL players.

Biggest career challenge: When I was in the BRL competition with the Jets and lost the grand final right on the buzzer of extra time. That was against the Redcliffe Dolphins in 2016. We lost by a drop kick in the final play of the game.

Career goals: I want to win the IRL championship and stay injury-free. Swifts are on top at the moment, so hopefully we can keep it going and make it to the grand final.

Chairman's Challenge goals: I've won one game at the Chairman's Challenge, in my very first year against the Gold Coast. This year, I want to win a game or even win the comp. 

Hardest opponent this weekend: I think it will be the Gold Coast team. They're quite fit.

Teammate to watch: Pat Samatua. He's a prop. He's got a good engine and has some good carries. He usually plays 80 minutes with us at Swifts but I reckon he'll get some rest this weekend which could make him even better when he gets his chances.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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