Reds plan to bring Queenslanders home - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds plan to bring Queenslanders home

By Wayne Heming 13/07/2006 05:46:58 PM Comments (0)

Queensland Reds coach Eddie Jones hopes to back up Thursday's signing of rugby league goal-kicking fullback Clinton Schifcofske with the recruitment of another high-calibre outside back within the next few days.

Jones declined to identify the player in question but revealed plans to lure several high class ex-Queenslanders back into the fold in coming years.

"Hopefully we'll get another player over the line in the next couple of days," said Jones.

"He's not a league player, but he's another good quality outside back.

"We're between 95 and 98 per cent (to get his signature) at the moment which will give us a real boost again."

The former Wallaby coach said he also wanted to bring Queensland's best players home.

"You look through the books at the moment and there's the (Daniel) Heenans, the (Mark) Chisholms, the (Lote) Tuqiris and the (Mat) Rogers all out there," Jones said.

"They're all Queenslanders and they're the sort of guys we're going to work pretty hard over the next 12 months to get back."

Schifcofske's two-year deal will launch his rugby union career on the wing for Queensland next year.

The new recruit, who boasts an 85 per cent NRL conversion rate for Canberra, will also be a back-up goalkicker for young Reds five-eighth Berrick Barnes.

"I played (rugby) as a kid and stuff so it's going to be a massive challenge but it's something I'm ready for," Schifcofske said, rating last week's State of Origin decider as the highlight of his 10-year league career.

The Reds played their Australian Rugby Union wild card which tops up contracts of players not considered in the running to play for the Wallabies, to clinch the deal.

"He's going to have to work very hard, but Clinton appeals as a very studious and professional player which is why we signed him," said Jones.

"We always wanted to get him. We needed another senior player and we went out of our way with the wild card to put together what we think is a good package."

Jones conceded signing a 30-year-old rugby league player with no rugby union experience involved some risk.

"Every player is a gamble and it's a calculated risk," Jones said.

"What appeals though is that he is a studious player and studious players, particularly in the outside backs, will make the switch.

"He's a good footballer, we saw that in the last five minutes of the Origin game when he did some things to ensure Queensland won.

"He'll bring that experience across to rugby.

"There are challenges ahead of him, no doubt.

"But we've seen outside backs like Andrew Walker, who was a similar sort of guy, was Super 12's leading try scorer in his first season.

"We've had the more celebrated examples of Rogers, Tuqiri and Wendell Sailor who've all made the switch pretty easily and I think Clinton's going to be in that market."

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