Queensland can breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge Liam Gill will stay with the Reds until the end of next season, after the talented openside flanker signed a one-year contract extension.
Speculation about Gill’s future has grown in recent weeks after he told Fox Sports last month he was pondering a shift to Melbourne Rebels following strong interest from the south.
But the 23-year-old put the conjecture to bed on Friday, announcing he’ll remain at the club with whom he made his Super Rugby debut in 2011.
“Queensland has been huge in my development and I didn’t want to walk out on the club,” said Gill, who has been capped 15 times by the Wallabies.
“It’s good to know I’ll be here next year.
“I now have a new focus which is to help return the club to winning ways.
“We’ve got a lot of promising young guys in the squad which we need to continue to develop and if we do that, we’ve got a bright future.”
Gill’s retention is a shot in the arm for the Reds, who will lose Will Genia and James Horwill to overseas clubs at the end of a tumultuous season further destabilised by coach Richard Graham’s tenuous position.
Queensland have logged just four wins from 15 starts as they prepare for their final regular-season fixture against the NSW Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Quade Cooper is also still locked in negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union about his future, but seems ever more likely to make the move to French club Toulon.
Queensland Rugby chief executive Jim Carmichael admitted it was a relief to lock the side’s most consistent player, who has featured in all but one match and leads the competition for turnovers forced (28).
“There has been a fair bit of speculation about his future for some time,” he said.
“We have always said Liam believes the best place for him to play his Rugby is in Queensland, so to be able to confirm that is an important announcement for Queensland Rugby.”