HUNGRY: Tate McDermott has been named on the bench for the Reds season-opener against the Highlanders in Dunedin
HUNGRY: Tate McDermott has been named on the bench for the Reds season-opener against the Highlanders in Dunedin AAP - David Clark

Tate's primed for a solid year with Reds

RUGBY UNION: A swag of caps and some positive pre-season performances has Sunshine Coast product Tate McDermott itching to hit the ground running for the Reds this year.

The 20-year-old scrumhalf notched up eight Super Rugby appearances in his debut season for the Ballymore-based club last year and has been named on the bench for the Reds season-opener on Friday night against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

While McDermott has been pressing his claims for a starting spot at No.9 with some impressive efforts, he's more than happy to make an impact from the bench and eager to simply soak up as much game time as possible this season.

"I didn't think I'd be playing eight games last year so to have that kind of behind me is massive,” McDermott said.

"The goal for this year is just to be playing as much good footy as I can for Queensland, at least in the match day 23 and in all games.

"I'm not so much focussed on starting yet, I just want to impose myself off the bench for now and see where that takes me.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that nine jersey but at the moment it's just to play as much footy as I can for the Reds.”

He's relished his time with Reds since debuting and welcomed the "healthy competition” at scrumhalf against Moses Sorovi and James Tuttle.

"It's always good having someone keeping you on your toes there and he (Sorovi) started a lot of games last year and then I started the last game of the year,” he said.

"It's been really good to have that healthy competition that all good teams have.

"We're starting to build a little depth in that number nine jersey and to have those boys there to work with and also learn off has been big for me as a pretty young one in the squad.”

The former Sunshine Coast Grammar student said he'd been working hard to improve on his passing and kicking skills during pre-season.

After solid performances against the Melbourne Rebels and Chiefs in pre-season trials, and enduring a bye in round one, McDermott was eager to finally get the Super Rugby campaign under way against the Highlanders on Friday night.

"I'm pretty excited, it's been a long and pretty tough pre-season,” he said. "Last year we had a close tussle with them at Suncorp and if it all goes to plan we will be competing and definitely going there to take the fight to them.

"We're going in there pretty confident and we just want to play our kind of game, we're not too much worried about their game.”

He said there was plenty of potential in the squad, with the major goal a place in the finals this year.

The Reds will take on Highlanders in Dunedin from 4.35pm (AEST).