Fast bowler Alister McDermott has been cut from Queensland's contract list for 2015-16, along with his brother Ben McDermott, who has moved to Tasmania. The Bulls have finalised their squad for next summer with the notable omission of a captain, after James Hopes agreed to sign on for another year as player but has stepped aside as skipper.
Usman Khawaja is considered a strong candidate to lead Queensland, although Chris Hartley, Chris Lynn and Peter Forrest have reportedly also been considered. The group is also without a coach, with no replacement yet named for Stuart Law, whose tenure ended during the 2014-15 season.
Former Test fast bowler Peter George has been handed a contract after making his Queensland debut last season and collecting 20 Sheffield Shield wickets for them at 33.30, while Simon Milenko and Charlie Hemphrey have also earned deals. Batsman Sam Heazlett, who made 160 for Australia in their recent Under-19s Test against England in Perth, has been given a rookie contract.
The McDermott brothers were both squeezed out, with former rookie Ben joining Tasmania on a rookie deal for next summer. Alister, who was called into Australia's ODI and T20 squads for a series against Pakistan in 2012 but did not debut in either format, has been dropped after featuring in only one Shield match last season. Ronan McDonald has also been cut from the rookie list.
"We believe the Queensland Bulls squad for the 2015-16 season has a good blend of youth and experience," Queensland Cricket's high performance manager Brett Jones said. "To have emerging players such as Mark Steketee, Jimmy Pierson and Jack Wildermuth amongst international performers Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns and Chris Lynn is an exciting prospect for the state.
"Looking at last season, although we just missed out on finals in both competitions, we blooded a lot of new talent and had three players represent Australia for the first time, so we are very optimistic about what the future holds.
"As always we have had to make some tough decisions and we know that players who have not been awarded contracts will be disappointed. We will, like always, be using grade cricket and the Cricket Australia Second XI competition to ensure the state's best performers have a pathway to Shield and Matador Cup cricket."
Queensland squad Joe Burns, Cameron Boyce, Nicholas Buchanan, Ben Cutting, Jason Floros, Luke Feldman, Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Peter George, Ryan Harris (Cricket Australia contract), Chris Hartley, Charlie Hemphrey, James Hopes, Usman Khawaja, Chris Lynn, Simon Milenko, Michael Neser, James Peirson, Nathan Reardon, Mark Steketee. Rookies James Bazley, Sam Heazlett, Matthew Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Nick Stevens, Jack Wildermuth.