42 talents who’ll light up King of the Country
A DOZEN champion club rugby sides from southeast Queensland and New South Wales' Far North Coast will flock to the Gold Coast to play for the inaugural King of the Country crown.
Ahead of the livestreamed action on the News Australia websites our reporters ran the rule over the top talent set to hit the broadcast.
We've come back with 42 names across the three age divisions worth the price of admission to tune in for.
GOLD COAST EAGLES (GOLD COAST)
Cooper Eagle, lock
"Just physically very strong, massive workrate on him. That really sums him up," head coach Grant Steffek said.
"Wouldn't call him the flashiest player but he's really confident and physical."
Liam Condely, prop
"Really aggressive in the tackle and breakdown. Another big worker whose aggression and physicality makes a difference."
TEAM PREVIEWS FOR EACH GOLD COAST SIDE
Cody Schwab, centre
"He is, in my opinion, our top tackler. He just never misses. He is so gutsy. He's probably, I think, a really underrated player across Gold Coast rugby but we rate him highly here."
Umer Khan, winger
"One of the most intelligent rugby players I've come across in junior rugby. He also represents multicultural face of our club. He has Pakistani heritage. He's really quick, confident, intelligent and a thinker."
HIGHFIELDS REDBACKS (DARLING DOWNS)
Lucas Paynter, lock
A great player on both sides of the ball, Paynter is equally impressive in attack as he is in defence.
Johnny Ryan (centre)
His jumping ability make him a dominant presence in the lineout and his defence is second to none.
Jezziah Berry, flanker
A player with massive potential. He's a destructive presence in defence and can break the line in attack with the ball in his hands.
Max North, No.8
A tactical number 8 with great hands and an impressive kicking game.
SUNSHINE COAST GRAMMAR SCHOOL (SUNSHINE COAST)
Zac Nichol, inside centre
"He is a big strong lad and hard runner," Brown said.
"He has good passing skills too.
Nate Hepi, prop
"Nate is tight head prop and is stronger and fitter than the typical (prop)," Brown said.
"He is a good kid and leads by example."
Jett Spink, No. 8
"He is coming along really well and is quick and just has a good future ahead of him.
FAR NORTH COAST
Ta'ziayah Milner, Ballina. Flyhalf
Milner, the captain of the side has played FNC for the last four years as well as NSW country development side. He brings experience and vision to the team with swift feet and very good ball handling skills.
Fynn Jonsson, Ballina. Back row
Another Ballina rep who has played FNC for four years and the NSW country development side. Fynn gives 110 per cent with a never-stop attitude. He is one of the best all-rounders on the FNC.
Lewis Parker, Wollongbar. Back row
Lewis has played on FNC rep team for four years. Lewis plays in the back row and is the team's best pilferer of the ball. Lewis can steal a ball in almost any situation he is also the fastest back-rower as well.
Soren Webster, Lismore City. Back row
Soren has played FNC for four years. Soren is all about power, he is big, strong and fast. Soren would be the best ball carrier on the side.
Brooklyn Wareea, Tweed. Front row
In his first year of FNC, Wareea is big and powerful and very physical in defence. Brooklyn leads from the front and gives the team confidence.
SURFERS PARADISE DOLPHINS (GOLD COAST)
Kingsley Uys, lock
Big unit. Good engine room man.
Keido Goulding, hooker
Good hooker. He'll probably go on to some very high honours.
He's got the right build, a great attitude.
Lucky guy is eligible to play for four countries through his parents so I'm sure we'll see him in international rugby somewhere along the line.
Liam Dunn, halfback
He's an absolute pest on the field. If he's at his pest-y best he snaps at his forwards left right and centre. Never stops talking. Once he goes on the field a different head goes on
Xavier O'Neil, lock / flanker
Xavier has returned to the club from an extended trip overseas. He was meant to come back last year but got held up across the border with COVID. He's one to watch. Big, athletic kid who moved in from the wing to the forward pack.
FAR NORTH COAST
Riley Flood (Lismore) - Blindside flanker
Dominates rucks, lethal running on the right edge, and physically an alpha male. Has great game sense, strong desire, and ability to inspire others through action.
Kody McQuilty (Lismore) - Flyhalf
Vice-captain and moves from #8 to #10 in recognition of his strong tackling and passing game. A great talker with an ability to read the game and tactical kick for his outside backs.
Jimmy McCombie (Lennox Head) - Inside Centre
The captain. A natural leader with a well-developed ability to read the game and help his teammates excel and make a difference. Physically fast and strong, loves contact and enjoys taking on the best of the opposition. Lethal in broken play.
Taj Bednall (WAR) - Hooker
The best #7 in the local competition moves to hooker to show his water polo developed throwing skills at the lineout. Hard at the ruck and an aggressive tackler. Has a great opportunity to play as a hooker and develop/showcase his extra skills.
Tui Simpson (Yamba) - Winger
The best finisher in the game, plays like an extra fullback and capable of being the difference in tight games when he stays involved.
Hayden Sivewright (Lismore) - Fullback
A great defensive and positional fullback with game awareness beyond his years. We expect Hayden to develop his communication and guidance from the back which will propel him to being a superstar.
MAROOCHYDORE SWANS (SUNSHINE COAST)
Jesse Jones, openside flanker
"He is captain and does everything well, especially his tackling," coach Robinson said.
Jarvis Wood, inside centre
"He has great ball running and ball playing," Robinson said.
Patrick Edwards, second row
"Patrick is good at the breakdown and good at ball running," Robinson said.
HELENSVALE HOGS (GOLD COAST)
Kobi Nouanrasy, halfback
"He's just a superstar," coach Josh Bush said.
"He can do it all. You can throw him anywhere in the backline and he'll do it.
"It's only his first year at halfback this year for us and in our pre-season he's grown in that position.
"Other coaches ask who our halfback is, they thought he must have been there for years. It was only his second game."
Junior Siaunuua, wing
"His speed, footwork, ability to beat tackles. This kid just goes.
"He can also cover anywhere in the backline."
Mason Guilfoyle, prop
"His strength and pure physique and wanting to smash people.
"He's a prop who's worked hard in the off-season adding fitness to his game.
Keegan Cook, openside flanker
"I like to call him the breakdown extraordinaire.
"He can steal a ball off anyone. He'll be there over those breakdowns just being a good pest, a good No.7
"A straight-up Richie (McCaw), pretty much."
FAR NORTH COAST
Peter Hammond (Yamba). Fullback.
He's lightning quick. A raw talent with heaps of speed. A dangerous player.
Matt Keys (Lismore City). Prop.
Damaging runner. Strong, with all the attributes you need in a front-rower. Very hard to stop and a hard attacking player.
Angus Graham (Wollongbar). Inside centre / flyhalf.
Pretty crafty player. He's rugby smart, and a good reader of the game.
Lane Edmonds. (Lismore City) #8.
Very strong over the ball. Wins a lot of ball. Another smart footballer - 25 yards out, he will find the line. Damaging down the short side.
Xhai Waerea, Hooker.
Uncompromising, rugged type of footballer. Great attacking player with a big-bodied frame that he uses well.
INVITATIONAL BARBARIANS (GOLD COAST)
Tawa-Dean Simpkins, flanker
"He is an absolute ball of muscle and pace and energy. He's a complete backrower and can even pinch hit at centre. He's got a Sevens background," said assistant coach Grant Steffek.
Jack Kennedy, front row
"He is a sponge. He's a smarter kid with a good work ethic, really powerful kid. He wants to do better and has a hunger to do better which sets him up well in rugby and other things."
VJ Letalu, fullback
"He's got a dancer's hot step. That guy is all romance, you can just imagine him as a ballroom dancer. Light footwork, really quick and a total ankle-breaker sidestep."
Gazniah Toomaga, flyhalf
"An incredible passer of the football and a strong tackler. You don't find many defensive-oriented five-eighths but he'd be one of them. He has deceptive pace and a bullet pass."
Originally published as Scouting report: 42 talents who'll light up King of the Country