OUR BUNDY RED: Tate proud of his roots
UNION: Bundaberg-born Queensland Reds player Tate McDermott admits the region hasn’t played a major part in his life so far.
But he is embracing the support he is getting from everyone.
McDermott visited the region yesterday as part of the Reds to Region tour by the states only Super Rugby team.
It is the first time the team has travelled around the state in more than a decade.
The 21-year-old visited Norville State School and St Luke’s Anglican School for clinics as well as having lunch at TAFE Queensland’s Bundaberg campus.
“The whole initiative for the Reds to Region is to get to the areas that haven’t received much attention from Queensland Rugby and the Reds of late,” McDermott said.
“In our name we are the Queensland Reds, that entitles us to represent Queensland.
“And we haven’t done that enough recently, lend a hand to the community.”
McDermott said he’s been well received in the community.
“Been a good response so far, the kids love having us out here,” he said.
“If the kids are enjoying it they want to play footy.”
The tour could be something that happens every year with the Queensland Reds seriously discussing it for 2020 and beyond.
McDermott, while attracting attention for being a Red, also gained more through his heritage.
The Reds scrumhalf was born in Bundaberg but didn’t live in the region long before heading to Sunshine Coast with his family.
He has been back, through family holidays to Gin Gin and a rugby union tournament through his school, Sunshine Coast Grammar, in Bargara in 2013.
“I’ve got a few family friends that still live here, but I was an infant when I was here,” he said.
“I’d be lying if I said I remembered that.
“I’ve heard good things about it and my mum and dad loved their time here.”
McDermott’s dad won a premiership with the Turtles in the 1990s.
And the state player was proud to have his heritage here.
“It’s a beautiful part of town (Queensland),” he said.
“I’m proud of being born here.
“But I spent my whole life on the Sunshine Coast, I’m proud to come from there.”
McDermott is keen to do the best he can for his state as well, guiding the Reds to a Super Rugby title for the first time since 2010.
He became an established name in the side this year and recently signed a deal, locking him to the state until 2023.
At one stage he was even in contention to be with the Wallabies at the World Cup.
But McDermott said the focus wasn’t on Australia, it was delivering for the state he loves.
“2019 was a big year, all in all I was happy with how everything went,” he said.
“I never had any intentions of playing for the Wallabies.
“I want to see my state doing well before I get ahead of myself.”
He said the two worked hand-in-hand.
If he delivers for Queensland, he knows the Wallabies will come knocking.
But he knows next year needs to be better than this year to lead Queensland to glory.
“I just wanted to play good footy for the state (this year) and I felt I did that in patches,” he said.
“This year needs to be a big one because for far too long we’ve promised Queensland a title and never delivered.
“I’d be lying If I said I didn’t want to play Wallabies.
“But I want to play good consistent football for Queensland and if that leads to the Wallabies then so be it.”
McDermott said that would be done by improving with his kicking game and his catch passes.
He said his leadership needed to improve as he gets more experience in the team.
McDermott will travel back to Brisbane to keep training with the Reds.
The team starts the new Super Rugby season on January 31 against the ACT Brumbies.