Reds’ next Cooper might be in backyard

An international search for Quade Cooper’s Super Rugby replacement has been launched by Queensland.

But Jake McIntyre hopes to remind the Reds the solution might be in their backyard with a leading hand on Saturday in Brisbane City’s National Rugby Championship (NRC) title defence.

Captain Liam Gill says No.10 McIntyre will be crucial in their NRC grand final showdown with University of Canberra Vikings at Ballymore.

The undefeated Brisbane City will be hosting their second straight NRC decider.

But a bigger stage looms for McIntyre.

Reds coach Richard Graham admitted he would look afar for Wallabies playmaker Cooper’s replacement in 2016.

However, McIntyre admitted another stellar display alongside Brisbane City halves partner Nick Frisby would help his quest to don the Reds’ No.10 guernsey.

“That’s my goal, to play Super Rugby consistently,” said McIntyre, the NRC’s leading pointscorer.

“The way I’m going to do that is by playing good, consistent footy at a high level and that’s what I have been trying to do in the NRC.”

Brisbane City coach Nick Stiles backed McIntyre, who made three appearances in 2015 for the Reds.

“This is a reason why the NRC is so crucial to Australian rugby and, importantly, for Queensland rugby,” he said.

“You get the players like Jake McIntyre and Nick Frisby, who are your next players to come through at Super Rugby.

“They’ve built a combination together so, when they step up to Super Rugby, they know each other’s games.”

Gill admitted Canberra’s five-eighth, former Wallaby Christian Lealiifano, would again be dangerous but said the main threat was the Vikings’ big men.

Canberra’s pack boasts six Brumbies including former Wallaby prop Ben Alexander.

“Their forward pack has been their strength – their set-piece, scrum and lineout has been exceptional,” Gill said.

“We know they can score points if they let their big boys roll.”

Brisbane City conceded 24 points in 15 minutes before holding out Canberra 37-31 three weeks ago, sealing the minor premiership.

It is Canberra’s sole loss of the season.

In the semi-finals, Brisbane again dug deep to down Sydney Stars 47-32, while Canberra had earlier thumped Melbourne Rising 50-34 at home.

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