Queensland Reds squad member Albert Anae at Ballymore Stadium.
Queensland Reds squad member Albert Anae at Ballymore Stadium.

Anae earns Reds contract

ALBERT Anae’s personal philosophy is “learn to follow before you lead”.

It has served the former Ipswich Grammar student well so far, with Anae earning himself a full Queensland Reds contract this year after two seasons in the Queensland Academy team.

A switch from prop to hooker has given the 21-year-old the impetus to make the jump into the big time.

Now he just has to put all he has learned into practice on the field.

Anae spoke to the Queensland Times following the Reds first training session of the New Year on Tuesday.

“The strength is there, I just need to get the fitness up,” he said.

“I’ve got about four more weeks to work on that.”

That is before the Reds begin trial matches ahead of the 2011 Super 15 season, which starts against the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium on February 20.

“I’m definitely excited,” the 2008 Queensland Colt of the year said.

“There are a lot of opportunities there.

“Saia (Faingaa) is back from the Wallabies and James Hanson (Queensland Reds Academy captain and 2010 hooker) are there as well.

“I’m the third hooker at the moment but, hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity there.”

He is happy to follow for now, as he was when Reds coach Ewen McKenzie suggested he try the switch to hooker.

As a former prop he has the scrummaging sussed and is working hard to perfect his lineout throwing.

“Getting the throws right is the main issue,” he admitted.

“I’ve been getting (second rower) Van Humphries to do extra throws now and then.

“Ewen has helped a lot.”

The Reds coach was impressed by Anae’s enthusiasm, scrummaging, mobility and size.

“We thought he had the potential to play prop and hooker,” McKenzie said.

“He’s got good application around the paddock.

“He can throw the ball and he’s a good scrummager.

“There is not a lot of big hookers around in Australia scrummaging at the moment.

“It can help.

“Scrummaging is about technique, but size is important if you’ve got momentum going.”

McKenzie is not expecting an overnight sensation, however.

“There is a fair bit to learn,” he said.

“He’s got good aptitude and a great attitude.”

All Anae could ask for now is the chance to put it into practice in the Super 15.

“First and foremost is to get out on the field,” he said.

“Hopefully I get picked in the trials and I can show the coaches why I’m here.

“I don’t want to play just one or two games.

“I really want to give it a real crack.”

McKenzie was giving little away when asked where Anae stood in the hooking ranks.

“They are different styles of players,” McKenzie said of Anae, Faingaa and Hanson.

“Developing (Anae’s) experience allows us to make decisions to suit the team.”



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