Gresford siblings Cliff and Lachlan Richardson ready to step up at PBR Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals in Cody Heffernan's absence

WHILE Singleton's Cody Heffernan is a late withdrawal, Gresford siblings Cliff and Lachlan Richardson will fly the local flag at the PBR Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals in Townsville.

Taking place at the Townsville Entertainment Centre over two bumper nights on November 15 and 16, the PBR event marks the final and deciding chapter in the hotly-contested 2019 PBR Australia season.

It will attract 18 of Australia's top riders, as well as four key internationals - including former world champion Kaique Pacheco - for an epic head-to-head showdown.

They'll also match-up against some of the best bucking bulls in the country - the supreme animal athletes that earn "superstar" status in of one of the world's fastest growing sports.

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of PBR in Australia, and the Grand Finals in Townsville are the biggest celebration of the sport's growth from when we launched the national tour in 1999," general manager Glen Young said.

"We're thrilled to be hosting such a marquee event in the same town as the PBR Australia headquarters.

"The Townsville community has always welcomed us and our sport with open arms."

2018 PBR Australia champion Aaron Kleier (Clermont) is set to return in a bid to nab consecutive national titles.

Kleier, currently sits atop the PBR Australia standings, having successfully backed up a breakout runner-up finish in 2017, and an inaugural Australian championship win in 2018.

He holds a narrow lead over his nearest rival, fellow Clermont (QLD) young-gun Brady Fielder.

Fielder, ranked number two on the current PBR Australia standings, looks primed to take out the 2019 Rookie of the Year title.

He could make a run for the national championship with some stellar results in the tail end of the season.

No stranger to rising to big occasions, 19-year-old Fielder has scored multiple top three finishes in PBR Australia tour events this year, including PBR title wins in Newcastle, Marrabel and Cunnamulla.

He flew out of Brisbane this week to represent Australia in the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas this weekend, from November 7 to 10.

Despite his youth, the fearless Fielder already sports his fair share of bull riding battle injuries - he's not only lost vision in his left eye, but also sustained a punctured lung.

Cliff Richardson is at number three on the PBR national standings.

He's just flown out of the country to join Fielder at the PBR World Titles.

Runner-up to national champion Kleier in the 2018 title race, the 28-year-old started 2019 strong.

However, he failed to find consistency in the middle of the PBR Australia season.

With recent form under his belt, Richardson has his sights set on bettering his number two grand final position this year.

Younger brother and PBR Australia number four Lachlan Richardson is also hoping to put injury and a mid-season slump behind him to make a last-ditch run at this year's national title.

He consolidated his top four ranking with a return to form after injury and a string of disappointing buck-offs earlier in the year.

"You work hard at it every single day, and then the results don't show," said Richardson, 26.

"It annoys you, but it also makes you hungry for next week.

"I had a bit of bad luck there for a bit, but you've just got to keep working at it.

"Confidence is a really big thing in this sport, and I feel good, healthy and ready to go."

2019 was the first season in Richardson's career that he did not embark on a summer run through the PBR tours in the USA and Canada.

Grounded in Australia due to Visa issues, he said he had enjoyed the break from international competition.

"It's great to be home," the youngster said.

"It wears you out being over there [in the USA] your whole life, so I'm happy to be back here for a bit.

"I enjoy working and doing fun stuff on the farm, and I get to live with my fiancée - so life is good."

Out of the mix for this year's national championship is current PBR Australia number five, Heffernan.

He started 2019 looking virtually untouchable on top of the national leaderboard.

However, a string of injuries have hampered his run at a second title - with a knee injury now sidelining him entirely for this rest of this season and into the New Year.

The tough-as-nails Heffernan had knee surgery recently and doesn't expect to be back competing on a bull for another nine months.

The cracking start to the year he had leaves him still in fifth position in the national standings despite being injury riddled and unable to ride for the past few months of competition.