Queensland Reds halfback Tate McDermott won’t be distracted by Wallabies selection debate ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby AU final against the Brumbies.
Duelling halfbacks Tate McDermott and Nic White will square off in Saturday’s Super Rugby AU final with Wallabies ramifications at play.
But Queensland Reds playmaker and White’s Australian understudy McDermott said that motivation “was miles behind” as the Reds look to reverse the result of last year’s decider in front of what could be a 50,000-strong Suncorp Stadium crowd.
More than 32,000 tickets had been sold on Tuesday morning for the domestic decider, with the final shaping as the Reds’ biggest game since their only Super Rugby crown at the same ground 10 years ago.
McDermott has been central to the side’s revival – they’ve lost just once this season in a dead rubber clash with the Western Force – as he pushes incumbent Wallabies No.9 White ahead of a loaded Test calendar later this year.
But after claiming honours in two tight contests already this season, the long-time Reds fan won’t be distracted by that individual battle.
“Wallabies (auditions) is miles behind (in my thoughts),” he said.
“I’ve got a job to do for my state first.
“I really do mean it; it’s a grand final and we’ve got Queenslanders to make proud.”
The Reds have been bullish in stating their ambitions this season and it hasn’t gone unnoticed in Canberra, with Brumbies coach Dan McKellar referencing the Reds’ outspoken confidence earlier this week.
McDermott said they were just returning the favour after witnessing the Brumbies’ title-winning jubilation up close in last year’s Super Rugby AU final, won 28-23 in Canberra.
“There’s been a couple of points where we’ve rewatched that … you see they kick it out and there’s a bit of carry-on and they win,” McDermott said.
“There’s been a fire burning since that moment last year and it’s helped.
“We’re still not the complete package, but we’re building and we owe them a lot from that game.”