Red to miss idol battle

TOP JOB ROB: Reds lock Rob Simmons celebrates with teammates after scoring a try during the Reds’ match against the Hurricanes earlier this year.
TOP JOB ROB: Reds lock Rob Simmons celebrates with teammates after scoring a try during the Reds’ match against the Hurricanes earlier this year. GETTY IMAGES

QUEENSLAND Reds lock Rob Simmons is going to find it strange playing against the Western Force at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium tonight because it will be the first time his hero Nathan Sharpe won't be in the men from Perth's line-up.

Sharpe, the Wallabies most-capped forward and two-time John Eales medallist, brought the curtain down on his decorated career in Cardiff last December after the former Force captain led the Wallabies to victory against Wales in his 116th and final Test.

Now Sharpe has swapped his boots for a microphone and TV commentary duties, and Simmons is really going to miss the duel he used to relish - going head-to-head with Sharpe.

"My run-on debut for the Reds in 2010 was against the Force and Nathan," said Simmons, who earned his 50th Queensland cap against the Waratahs earlier this season.

"We played against each other about four times and we always had a good battle - there was nothing better than testing yourself against the best in the business and Nathan had been that for a long time.

"It just won't be the same seeing him on the sideline and not in the thick of the action."

But how is it Sharpe became such an idol for Simmons?

"I started playing rugby when I went to Southport School just like Nathan had done a few years earlier - he was like a god there," Simmons, 23, said.

"He was the player I watched as much as I could when I was learning the game and I wanted to play like him."

Simmons was born in the small Queensland town of Theodore - population 453 - some 565km north-west of Brisbane, and shares his birthplace with 1957 US Open tennis champion Mal Anderson.

Like Anderson, Simmons has gone on to play on the international stage, winning 23 caps for the Wallabies since making his Test debut off the bench against the Springboks in Brisbane in 2010.

Simmons toured Europe with the Wallabies last year, but played just one game after he copped an eight-week suspension, which was later reduced to five on appeal, for a dangerous lifting tackle on French player Yannick Nyanga in the 33-6 loss in Paris in November.

It meant he missed the wins over England and Italy, as well as Sharpe's farewell Test - he is keen to put that disappointment behind him.

"My focus is currently on playing well for the Reds and ensure we have a successful Super Rugby campaign," he said.

"Saying that, I'd love nothing better than to pull a gold jersey over my shoulders again and represent my country."

Topics:  nathan sharpe rob simmons rugby union

EVENT ALERT: WetSide's Light Show to change for a night

WetSide Water Education Park in Pialba. Photo Gary Crockett

It'll still be on, just a different time.

Annual show by Maryborough bass band a hit

Power Brass Showcase by Maryborough Excelsior City Band - Steve Moulds on euphonium.

It was the annual Power Brass Showcase.

UPDATE: Victim "taunted" attacker before Mundubbera stabbing

Shaun William Dennison stabbed a man in the neck, arm in public.

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals