Frankie’s chance comes after rave Reds rugby reviews
Murray Wenzel |
When James O’Connor caught Frankie Goldsbrough singing in the Ballymore showers he knew he was ready.
Not for Australian Idol, but for his Super Rugby Pacific debut.
Barely 18, the schoolboy rugby monster is already out-lifting most of the seasoned Queensland Reds backs in the gym.
O’Connor debuted for the Wallabies as an 18-year-old and, after coaching the teenager in his last season at Churchie, says the No.13 who turned down NRL for rugby has all the makings.
“Big, quick, good work ethic, smart, wants to learn, has a good footy head,” O’Connor, now 33, told AAP.
“Raw, but I remember what I was like at 17; just pure instinct and running off fumes.
“At Churchie he led that group when things needed to be done, not only on the field, he’d step up.
“And I caught him singing in the changeroom the other day and said, ‘you’re getting pretty comfortable, aren’t ya?’.”
Goldsbrough will get some time in the Reds’ Ballymore trial game against the Western Force on Saturday, named on an extended bench for one of just two pre-season games under new coach Les Kiss.
He’s got past the “nerve-wracking” introductions, spent time learning how to play on the wing and been told not to go into his shell.
“That was all a bit spin out,” he said.
“I’ve talked to Jordy (Petaia) and James about it … their advice was learn to react, play what you see and don’t hesitate.”
He won’t put any pressure on himself to join the likes of Petaia, Ben Tune and Daniel Herbert as an 18-year-old Super Rugby debutant.
“I’m stoked with what I’ve got out of union, not looked back,” Goldsbrough, a front-rower in junior rugby league, said of his big decision last year.
“League was fun, but I can offer a lot more in union and feel a lot more comfortable.”
Wallabies winger and fullback Jock Campbell agrees.
“He came into Wallabies camp for a day, this big kid, and didn’t look out of place,” he told AAP.
“He’s ready. Our backline’s pretty solid, but would I be nervous with him out there? No.”
The Reds’ six World Cup Wallabies have been selected to start in the 3pm trial against the Force, Jordan Petaia at fullback with Suliasi Vunivalu on one wing and raw flyer Floyd Aubrey on the other flank.
O’Connor (hamstring) and Tom Lynagh (back) were not considered, allowing Lawson Creighton first crack in the No.10 before rookie Harry McLaughlin-Phillips gets a chance off the bench.
Irish lock recruit Cormac Daly will start, while Hunter Paisami and Josh Flook will wear the No.12 and 13 respectively.
Former All Blacks prop Alex Hodgman will play his first minutes for the Reds off the bench, but Angus Blyth (knee), Massimo De Lutiis (hamstring) and Connor Anderson (ankle) were not considered.AAP