BRISBANE: Boom Wallabies halfback Will Genia has voiced both surprise and excitement at becoming the Reds’ youngest skipper since a 21-year-old Mark Loane led Queensland 35 years ago.
Genia, 22, has been given the captaincy duties following a horrific season-ending knee injury to lock James Horwill.
Horwill was only 22 himself when given the Reds leadership responsibilities two years ago but Brisbane Boys College school-mate Genia will be 10 months younger when he leads Queensland against the Blues onto Ballymore on Saturday night.
Despite being vice-captain, Genia expected veteran hooker Sean Hardman, Wallabies flyer Peter Hynes or seasoned lock Van Humphries to be preferred as skipper by coach Ewen McKenzie.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to be named captain of the Queensland Reds for this season,” the 11-Test half said at Ballymore yesterday.
“I was told I was going to be vice-captain a couple of weeks before the season started and even then I thought someone else would have got the nod as captain before I did, so definitely surprised.
“But I’m definitely excited about the extra responsibilities and challenges that come with the role.
“I’ve got a lot of older guys and older heads to support me and I know they will do that.”
Meanwhile, Wallabies great Andrew Slack has delivered the ultimate endorsement of Genia by likening the 22-year-old to Mark Loane and Nick Farr-Jones.
Slack, who led Australia to their breakthrough 1984 Grand Slam triumph, rated the Papua New Guinea-born halfback the full package and expected him to immediately fill the huge boots of sidelined captain James Horwill.
The former Queensland coach and captain said Genia’s composure and class reminded him of his first state skipper, Loane, who took on the role at 21.
Slack also compared Genia’s scrum-base play to another Test captain, in 1991 World Cup winner Farr-Jones.
“He seems to me to be the full-on package,” Slack told AAP yesterday. – AAP