Queensland Reds head coach Brad Thorn has announced his playing squad and coaching staff for the 2018 Super Rugby campaign.

Joining the Reds coaching staff for the first time in 2018 will be former Queensland and Wallabies winger Paul Carozza, who has spent the last 15 years in various coaching roles at the Ballymore-based franchise, most recently as assistant coach with 2017 National Rugby Championship (NRC) winners Bond University Queensland Country and the undefeated Queensland U20s.

Carozza will join newly appointed head coach Thorn and recently appointed assistant coach Tony McGahan to form the coaching team for 2018.

The 2018 Reds squad features 10 new signings, seven of which have been selected from Queensland Country following their grand final win in the NRC, including Wallabies end-of-year tour development player Liam Wright and NRC leading try scorer Filipo Daugunu.

Heading to Ballymore for the first time will be former Brumbies and Stormers prop JP Smith, along with New South Wales Country Eagles hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

A number of players have also been promoted from within the Reds pathway, including young locks Angus Blyth and Harry Hockings, back-row Angus Scott-Young, fly-half Hamish Stewart and scrum-half Tate McDermott. In total, 83 percent of the 2018 squad have emerged from Queensland pathway programmes.

Six players have been re-signed ahead of the 2018 season, including recent Wallabies debutant Karmichael Hunt, as well as Queensland Country standouts Caleb Timu, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Duncan Paia’aua, Izaia Perese and Eto Nabuli, who was also the Reds leading try scorer in 2017.

Twenty players have been retained from the 2017 squad, including Wallabies Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Samu Kerevi, James Slipper, George Smith, Scott Higginbotham and Taniela Tupou.

Thorn said: “We’re excited to have Paul (Carozza) joining the Reds coaching staff, after providing me with good support in the Queensland U20s and with Queensland Country. He’s got a long history in Queensland Rugby and he is passionate about driving success at the Reds.

“We’ve managed to keep a fairly consistent squad for 2018, but we’ve also rewarded a lot of new players for their hunger and hard work throughout the 2017 season. I’m pleased to see them get their opportunity to be part of the Reds squad.

“It’s good to be back at Ballymore and into the thick of pre-season. We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we’re excited by the challenge. Everyone you’ll see in Reds colours in 2018 will have worked extremely hard to get there.”

Reds fans should keep an eye out for further player announcements prior to the 2018 season.

2018 Reds squad:

Forwards: Sef Fa’agase, Harry Hooper, James Slipper, JP Smith, Taniela Tupou, Markus Vanzati, Alex Mafi, Andrew Ready, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Angus Blyth, Kane Douglas, Harry Hockings, Izack Rodda, Lukhan Tui, Michael Gunn, Reece Hewat, Scott Higginbotham, Adam Korczyk, Angus Scott-Young, George Smith, Caleb Timu, Liam Wright

Backs: Nick Frisby, Tate McDermott, Moses Sorovi, James Tuttle, Quade Cooper, Hamish Stewart, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia’aua, Filipo Daugunu, Karmichael Hunt, Lachlan Maranta, Eto Nabuli, Izaia Perese

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