|RUGBY union in Australia is screaming out for some much-needed success and, if the prophecy of Gold Coast businessman Tony Wiese is to be trusted, it might not be all that far away.
Wiese is the boss of Bartercard, who are entering their 16th year sponsoring the Queensland Reds.
After being blown away by a night put together for stakeholders, Wiese stepped up to the plate to tell players of his hunch that the 2019 Super Rugby season might just be one to remember – despite the fact the Reds finished 13th of 15 teams on the overall standings this year.
“The team has had a horrible seven years now after they won the championship in 2011,” he said.
“I just said to the guys, we have been a sponsor for 15 years, we have seen the worst and the best of the team.
“In 2010, when Jim Carmichael came on as the new CEO at the time, I could feel a certain magic in the air that there is something happening here and then they won the Super Rugby title in 2011 from nowhere.
“I said I can feel the same thing happening here, just the spirit of the team, just the way the new management and the coaching staff are, I can just feel the magic in the air that we are going to have a really, really good season and that they are even capable of winning the Super Rugby title this season. There’s something different … it’s a new dawn.”
Brad Thorn has stamped his mark since taking over from Nick Stiles as head coach, adopting a hardline stance to tainted players such as Karmichael Hunt and throwing his weight behind the state’s rising talent.
Gold Coaster Hamish Stewart (pictured above between Moses Sorovi and Wiese) has become a mainstay in the flyhalf role at just 20 years of age.
Angus Blyth is on the way up, while former The Southport School student Jock Campbell has been rewarded for his club form and National Rugby Championship outings with a Reds deal.
Of the Tuesday night function, Wiese said it was nothing like he had seen before.
Expecting the usual formal dinner, sponsors were driven on the Reds bus from Ballymore to the hallowed Suncorp Stadium turf where they were greeted by players and presented with jerseys.
As published in the Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin, 15th December 2018