Tue, Feb 20, 2024, 6:39 AM
Reds Media Unit

The Queensland Reds have confirmed their 32-player Super Rugby Women’s squad for the 2024 season.

In what is Grant Anderson’s first playing squad since taking over as head coach of the team, the squad is underpinned by a blend of fresh teenage talent and experience.

The squad features exciting young centre Shalom Sauaso, who is just is just 16 and still a Grade 12 student at Ipswich State High School.

Just as important is the return of prop Liz Patu – the most capped Wallaroo in history with 33 caps – to bolster the pack at 34 less than eight months after the birth of son Peter.

Anderson said: “We have a lot of new faces and energy coming to the squad.

“During the pre-season, the priority has been working really hard at the skill base and building combinations and cohesion."

Anderson, a former prop, knows that having the right strength in the pack always has to be the first step for any backline to sing.

Patu’s return is a major plus as well as the arrival of experienced USA Eagle Charli Jacoby, who will bring her background of 24 Tests to the job of playing tighthead prop. Prop Janita Kareta is also settling into Brisbane after seeking a change of scenery following her years with the Melbourne Rebels. They are plusses to cover the absence of Wallaroo prop Bree-Anna Cheatham for the season as she recovers from a knee injury.

The line-breaking and try-scoring potential is there in the backs. Flyhalf Carys Dallinger, halfback Sarah Dougherty, centre Cecilia Smith, winger Ivania Wong, centre Alana Elisaia and utility Mel Wilks all have recent experience with the Wallaroos.

Added to that is the return of experienced Wallaroos fullback Lori Cramer after her stint with the NSW Waratahs and England’s Exeter Chiefs.

Sauaso was an eye-catcher in the trial against the Waratahs in Roma in February with her strong carries from inside centre.

Mercedez Taulelei-Siala, 17, who attends the same school as her team-mate, impressed on the same day with her stout defence in the centres.

“Shalom has come through the sevens pathway. That was her first game of 15s in Roma and she showed great composure,” Anderson said.

“Carys and Sarah both bring their Wallaroos experience to playmaking positions while Ava Wereta (17) took on the challenge in Roma as a young No.10 when Carys was a late withdrawal.”

Unearthing the Kiwi-schooled Dallinger after discovering her Australian heritage was one of the upbeat stories of 2023. She rode it all the way, from her classy distribution and kicking for the Reds to Australian selection.

Gelling all the positive parts of the puzzle within the squad is the big thing for Anderson but he likes what he sees.

“Mel Wilks offers a lot in attack with her skills and has flexibility to play at fullback or in the centres. It’s good to have that versatility in players,” Anderson added.

"You can’t coach pace, so a big upside is having electric youngster Dianne Waight joining the squad as well."

Waight, who has Jamaican heritage, is a former track sprinter and scored three tries for Bond University in last year’s Australian Club Championship triumph.

Queensland kick off their 2024 Super Ruby Pacific Women’s season at Ballymore Stadium on Sunday March 17.


Deni Ross | Wests

Ava Wereta | Bond Uni

Lori Cramer | TBC

Charli Jacoby | Bond Uni

Jemma Bemrose | Bond Uni

Janita Kareta | Sunnybank

Maletina Brown | Easts

Alana Elisaia | Wests

Doreen Narokete | Brothers

Madi Schuck | Easts

Carola Kreis | Easts

Briana Dascombe | Wests

Cecilia Smith | Sunnybank

Haidee Head | Easts

Natalie Wright | UQ

Aleena Greenhalgh | Wests

Tiarna Molloy | Easts

Caitlin Urwin | UQ

Ivania Wong | Sunnybank

Mel Wilks | Bond University

Ashlee Knight | Wests

Carys Dallinger | Easts

Liz Patu | Wests

Sarah Dougherty | GPS

April Ngatupuna | Easts

Shalom Sauaso | TBC

Mercedez Taulelei-Siala | Sunnybank

Grace Baker | Bond Uni

Lucy Thorpe | Bond Uni

Isabelle Robinson | Sunnybank

Theresa Soloai | Easts

Dianne Waight | Bond Uni

Head Coach: Grant Anderson

Assistant Coach: Lawrence Faifua

Assistant Coach: Darren Rees

Team Manager: Tania Hala