Highlanders record win against Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Highlanders record win against Reds

Highlanders record win against Reds

I think the statistic that the Reds have won 4 of the last 5 matches against the Highlanders is both surreal and no representation of the status of these two teams in the 2017 season.

The Match

The Highlanders auspicious start to the match undoubtedly caused eye rolls throughout lounge rooms around Australia when the scintillating Naholo crossed within the first 2 minutes as the Reds were caught unprepared.

Some solid play from players like Izack Rodda and the other forwards saw the Reds make ground in the first half, with good possession and field position, but they couldn’t convert much of that to points.  Rodda scored out wide to put the Reds on the scoreboard before they went into the sheds at half-time.

Entering the second half, 16 points down and 63% of the possession, the Queensland Reds needed their mostly* young team to dig deep to claw back the deficit.  Unfortunately some meandering play from the Reds (and missed tackle from Timu) saw Tevita Le cross near the sideline for the Highlanders’ 4th try of the match.

As the second half wore on the Reds looked a little more raggedy, a little more lost and then the scrum was decimated and a penalty try was awarded.  Low point.  All was not lost however as they did keep pushing and Alex Mafi benefitted from some great patience in a maul that saw him cross for his first Super Rugby try.

Some seriously impressive play and a brilliant cross-field kick from Sopoaga saw Li just lose control of the ball as he went to touchdown.  Gotta say, that decision could have gone either way.  Dixon then scored a try that also could have gone either way but the rub went with the ‘Landers this time.

The Reds didn’t look like quitting early and Caleb Timu scored his first Super Rugby try after some skill and balance from Quade Cooper who converted from the sideline.  They were unlikely to claw it back from here (particularly with their defense continuing to leak) but the Reds players were clearly hungry.

They lost, but at least they played the full 80′.  And a little bit of fisticuffs to end it kind of summed up the Reds’ season – not really much point to it because what mattered they didn’t land.  I am sure most of the players were gutted with such an unimpressive season, but there were at least 4 close games they should have closed out.  How different the season would have been then.

I think finishing the season with the three try-scorers all playing their first season (Timu’s injury causing him to miss all 2016) and scoring their first tries in this final match showed that perhaps the youth have a future in 2018.  Looking forward to seeing them in NRC this year.

* George Smith had a couple of off matches during the season, but generally his form has been very impressive for a 36 year old.  He is however the most penalised player of 2017.  Of all teams.  Not a ladder you want to lead.  Kinda sums up the Reds season.  Most yellows, most close losses.


The Game Changer

The 41′ try to Tevita Li showed the class of the Highlanders (who are ‘only’ fourth placed at the moment in their conference) and their ability to take minority possession and make maximum mileage.


The G&GR MOTM

Sopoaga controlled the play well and opened up some beautiful space with his kicking.  Not revolutionary, but a solid job from a solid 10.


Wallaby watch

Stephen Moore will struggle to retain his captaincy of the Wallabies for The Rugby Championship – I love the bloke, but he doesn’t have the same grit that he used to and he doesn’t demonstrably lead from the front.


The Details

Crowd: Thankful the roof was closed.

Score & Scorers

Highlanders: 40
Tries: Dixon 64′, Li 41′, Hammington 32′, Lentjes 8′, Naholo 2′
Conversions: Sopoaga 4/5
Reds: 17
Tries: Timu 67′, Mafi 53′, Rodda 37′

Conversions: Cooper 1/3

Cards & citings

None

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Start preparing for next year now. I like some of the youngsters and again they showed some heart right to the end. Lots of work to do but, despite the score, not all bad.

  • idiot savant

    Thanks Kate. Gee that was quick. Im still watching the Rebels!

    I thought there were some positive signs there. The Reds didn’t get run over in the last 20 like most Aussie sides have been by the kiwis this season. Some of the youngsters showed some really good signs that they won’t be cowed by the greatness of the peoples of the Shaky Isles. Perezi, Stewart, Rodda and Timu were prominent in that regard. Topou had one of his best games. Magnay had moments. So the next gen showed a bit.

    On the bad side, Hunt looked rattled early before he went off. He made mistake after mistake under pressure and I haven’t seen that before. Cooper was his usual erratic self. I get concerned when he becomes the senior voice on field. Cooper and Hunt made bad decisions early which gave the Highlanders the ball resulting in 2 tries.

    Interesting how the Highlanders started playing at the tempo the ABs played with in the opening salvo of the last test against the Lions. Is this the next wave of Kiwi strategic brilliance, forged in their secret laboratories, following on from counter attack and off loading? Interesting also how many errors this strategy causes. Just like the ABs found, its hard to execute with accuracy at breakneck speed.

    • Who?

      On Cooper, I hear that the Kiwi commentators spent much of the first half saying that his runners were too flat, and the message from Stiles at half time was for the runners to come from deeper of 10. But that didn’t happen. When everyone’s running the same pace, same angle, it’s pretty easy to defend, and it’s the old donkey equally spaced between piles of hay dilemma. What’s the best option?
      But he was lucky to stay on the field – his high tackle late in the game… Looked soft at first glance, but the replay showed it was pretty ordinary, and could’ve easily been a card. Which would’ve been two high tackle cards for him from Fraser in the season!
      Thought Tuttle had a shocker… Loose defence, loose passes… No idea why Sorovi wasn’t given any game time – couldn’t have done any worse, and no pressure to win or close out the game.

      • first time long time

        I think the “flatness” of the runners was exacerbated by QC drifting sideways again.
        He shows little glimpses of his old self taking the ball hard at the line committing defenders like the attacking weapon he can be but then reverts to drifting as he passes way to often, posing no threat.
        I am a big fan of his good play but he was average last night.

        • Who?

          Really depends on which you see as cause and effect.
          Now, when it comes to setting up his forwards, Quade would definitely have better to set them up by being straighter. I’m thinking of times when the ball went to a second pass forward pod, when it was only going to them, and they were receiving the ball well behind the gain line with the defence on them.
          But when he’s probing and feeding backs, drifting across field is ok, provided he’s got hard runners to pick off. Especially if they take a slight unders line. It’s the Larkham/Mortlock line – 10 drifting out, recipient charging back infield at top pace against the drift.

        • first time long time

          I still think he is a much greater threat taking the ball forward because when he does he commands multiple defenders attention making it easy for his runners.
          Don’t mind when he drifts for variety but at the moment he is doing it too much and with no real purpose. Even when going across he has to pose a threat to the line of defence or he doesn’t commit anyone.
          I really hope he gets a decent run for the Wallabies in the RC and he takes his chance but pretty sure we are going to see more of the same selections.

  • Bobas

    Still don’t know how you can score a try when you put a knee on the ground 5m before the try line and then you ground it after the referee has blown the whistle for the try.

    Not as bad as the NRC own try or the Dillon Lleyds’ he dropped it but was controlling it with his mind, the latter was almost replicated in this game with poor assistant refereeing. Kiwi commentators were split 50/50 on that try with one saying he has no control as the ball hits the ground and the other saying he’s seen them awarded before (he purposefully left out the wrongfully adjective though).

    • idiot savant

      Fraser is showing potential to be a cleverly biased referee. Fancies himself too. Showing all the signs of an ego tripper.

      • Who?

        My first thoughts when I realized it was Fraser officiating was, “Well, that’s appropriate. Stilesy will be stoked!!!” Given it was Fraser who gave four YC’s in two matches on tour…

        • Jason

          To be honest I was just glad we didn’t have Paul Williams.

    • SuckerForRed

      I don’t believe the laws actually call for “control” when it comes to scoring a try. Just “downward preasure” and not knocking it forward.

      • Bobas

        “Try. When an attacking player is first to ground the ball in the opponents’ in-goal, a try is scored.”

        No mention of either, but when you look at the law of a knock on it mentions, “losing possession”. Control is the term IMO for the double negative: ‘not losing possession’.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Absolutely. He never lost contact with the ball so it wasn’t a knock on. As you say no mention of control or that other one the stupid commentators always bring in about downward pressure

        • Bobas

          He dropped it. He isn’t transferring it to his fingertips. There’s nothing to show the ball still attached to his hand before it hits the ground. If he did that anwhere else on the field it would be called a knock on.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I disagree. His hand was in contact until after the ball touched the ground

    • Jason

      As someone who has officiated sports at a fairly high level, I really hate to think the referees are biased or something, but we are seeing more and more referees caught in awe of the NZ teams. I counted 5 phases in a row where the Highlanders were clearly a step or two offside (and the offending player had a clear impact on the game). But because they would draw the focus to the ruck they’d get away with it.

      I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say it’s cheating, but god those Kiwi sides know how to get the rub of the green. Like every breakdown they would get their hands all over the ball, but not quite enough to draw a penalty but more than enough to completely stop any momentum.

    • Julius

      Dixon’s run had turned into a maul as players from both sides were bound onto him. What happens to his knee is irrelevant. He looked to have scored as he first went down…he then placed the ball again.

      You need to ignore the opinions of the swarm of imbeciles posing as rugby commentators in NZ. Most are as thick as pig shit. This match had two of the three dumbest in tandem: Turner and the brain dead Willie Lose. Only Justin Marshall was missing. That bunch see it as their duty to piss in the pockets of the the opposition supporters. Every single decision against the visitors is said to be dubious, every single point scored by a NZ team ids described as fortunate. They must think that distorting the reality is somehow being “neutral”. None of them have even flicked through rugby’s law book.

      The only obvious refereeing error was the missing of yet another Quade Cooper high tackle. His stiff arm to Marty Banks face–straight across Banks’ already broken nose was typical of the cowardly little shit. It is about time someone dealt to him in the old-fashioned way.

  • Pearcewreck

    Thanks Kate,
    Apparently the NZ crowd still boo Quade at every opportunity.
    When will they move on.
    There really is nothing worse then a NZ rugby fan, bad losers and even worse winners.

    • Bobas

      all kiwis have IVS.

      Irritable Vowel Syndrome

      I heard one talking up their “Choiwce az fudget spunna” and it wasn’t even an official g&gr one.

    • idiot savant

      Yes I thought the contrast between Cameron Smith’s speech post State of Origin series and just about very utterance from every kiwi post Lions series was stark. Smith, the captain of a side with an almost All Black like dominance was all class, showing genuine respect for the opposition. Read and co on the other hand showed no class, whinged and moaned. What happened to the humble bros?

      • Bobas

        McCaw’s 2015 post rugby world cup speech never even thanked the opposition or the all black fans

        • idiot savant

          I don’t think McCaw was always like that. The arrogance started with Hansen. He has encouraged a culture of disrespect. Now its just blatant. TJ Perenara shows open contempt on field. Beauden Barrett smirks. Hansen plants bugs….

        • Bobas

          I read that, ‘Hansen butt plugs’.
          So I think I gave him more credit as what I read probably isn’t as weird.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Tip of the hat Bobas! Pure Gold!

        • idiot savant

          Surely theres a market for them. I think they’d go down well (if thats the right phrase) in Rotorua. “No more bullshit, get your Hansen butt plug now … before its too late.” I’d be securing the trademark now…

    • Jason

      Yeah, there was a couple of Highlanders lineouts (Quade was literally at the other side of the field to the ball) and for about 30-45 seconds there was a ‘fuck you Quade’ chant. Seriously guys have a little bit of class.

  • Nickwaiheke

    I’m beginning to get fed up with the kiwi attitude as well which I find very confusing
    I spent the series angry with the Pom commentators and embarrassed by the kiwi press
    Bloody pleased to be back with super rugby and even cheered a bit for the reds today

  • Harbo

    The only thing Smith was good for this year was giving away penalities, way to lead by example George!

  • Tommy Brady

    Thanks for the write-up Kate. Fascinating to read so many of the reactions to your review in the comments section here. Strange isn’t it Kate how some find reason to reference the very classy Cameron Smith, but then act rather classless themselves. Has the Michael Cheika approach of intentionally deflecting attention away from a match scoreline to a topic of far less relevance now become a national epidemic amongst Australian rugby fans? Or is this Kate, merely a further boiling over of bitterness as the reality sinks in that for the first time in the 21 year history of Super Rugby no Australian side has beaten any Kiwi side in 2017.

    Any disenchantment amongst the crowd at the game should have come from supporters of the Reds. After all, this was the team representing the great Australian rugby state of Queensland. This is no Johnny Come Lately, expansion franchise from some non-rugby state of Australia. This is the great Queensland, steeped in 124 years of history and who pioneered the way to regularly beat New Zealand sides.

    The great Queensland Reds who won the competition only 6 years ago but failed to build on that success and have been on a steep downhill slide since.

    The same Reds who allowed incompetence to creep into their administration and poor attitude to wreck their playing roster. The same combination that despite 2 “extensive global searches” prevented any international coach of any stature wanting to go anywhere near the place.

    The same Reds who have churned through 4 head coaches in 6 years. The same Reds who sacked a failed head coach to appoint an even more failed head coach and somehow expected a different outcome.

    The same Reds who were lauded for bringing in over 300 Wallaby cap’s for the 2017 season with Moore, Smith, Higgenbothom, Cooper alone – yet only won 4 games.

    The same Reds who all season consistently leaked points through really poorly structured defensive systems – especially at set piece.

    The same Reds who on too many occasions fail to execute even the most basic skills when presented with possession in attacking situations on the field.

    The same Reds who aimlessly kick possession away because they lack the tactical on-field nous to retain the ball, build pressure, manipulate defences and cleverly plot their way to the try line.

    The same Reds who too often have conceded late leads to lose games because they lack the required conditioning to compete successfully at the professional level.

    The same Reds who are the most penalised, most carded side in Super Rugby in 2017.

    The same Reds who claim to have blooded many young players in 2017 when evidence suggests many lack the skill, talent or work ethic to be professional rugby players,

    The same Reds who in 2017 have averaged a home crowd of just 15,524 — down 55% from 34,218 5 years ago in 2012.

    Across all metrics, the Reds are a very poor professional rugby franchise who have let a lot of people down. But hey, let’s focus the attention on other things – that helps ease the pain.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Tommy, not a lot there i can disagree with! As a Reds fan, I remain positive that the players can be more competitive, but our coaching, skills and game plan let us down. Personally I think George Smith is getting a bad rap. Yes he is penalised a lit, but that is a 7’s job to push the boundary, and he has some great plays this year.
      Stiles is not a good coaching choice, and Woody Graham’s legacy is like herpes. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

      • Andy

        I almost think the reds need a guy like Jake White. Not saying I like his style of play but every team he coaches seem to have purpose and everyone buys in. His teams rely on doing the basics very well and one thing you know is the coach is always the big dog. No player trumps him.

        If the Reds had a coach like this they have the potential to be very successful with that squad.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I couldnt disagree with that. And have Brad Thorn understudy to take over in the future.

    • first time long time

      Thats one not so passive aggressive rant!
      Still can’t tell if you are empathising with the reds and their down trodden fans or just beating them with the bleeding obvious.
      You may well be swallowing hard on a few of those comments esp re the youngsters.. Hopefully sooner rather than later from my point of view.
      Hard to fault too much else in there though.

    • Who?

      I think, Tommy, you’ve got a few things out of chronological order there. Incompetence creeping into their admin was indeed the first issue, but the next was the appointment of Graham. Created from that incompetence who chose to give jobs to the boys, rather than from players losing their attitude. The attitude nosedived because the players were disenchanted and discouraged by the outcomes created by the poor coaching structures.
      I get that the whole ‘Global search’ was a farce, but I think it’s harsh to call Stiles “an even more failed head coach”. I call him a green head coach, one who’s quite probably not ready yet. As opposed to Graham, who already had a spell as a head coach and much more senior assistant roles than Stiles has ever had (Stiles’ CV: Reds forwards coach (with a dominant set piece), Brisbane City NRC coach (1 loss in 2 years), compared to Woody’s CV: Force attack coach (with no attack), Wallabies attack coach (with an attack that relied on Cooper/JOC/Beale sparking something from nothing – I rated him a failure there at the time), Force head coach (with a 30% win rate, replicated at the Reds)).
      With all that in mind, the Reds were always going to be rebuilding this year. To win the comp was going to be more than a stretch too far. I’m more than happy to admit I expected better results than we saw. But that’s true of all Aussie teams.
      I don’t consider the addition of the experienced players to be a loss. The Reds showed more in attack this year with Cooper than they did last year, and between Cooper and Hunt, there’s plenty of experience to help gen-next, headed by the still very young Samu Kerevi and including some exceptional talent (Perese, Magnay, Paia’aua, and more to come). In the forwards, I’m more concerned about the wasted signing of Douglas, the fact that Simmons has been squeezed out, the fact that Neville’s barely seen any time. But I’m pleased that there’s talent coming through, and while Smith is now only a demi-god and Moore’s no longer in contention for a World XV in his position, they’re old heads who have a lot to contribute, and who look to have great attitudes to sharing knowledge and developing talent. Meanwhile, Higgers has been a success.
      There’s no question there’s room for MUCH improvement. Defensive systems and attitude, discipline and defensive technique (it’s not hard to figure out that there’s not enough tackling practice being done – too many high tackles, early in the year too many tackles where people would hit but not stick), and basic handling skills are something that all Aussie teams seem to struggle with. So, much room for improvement. But this feels more like 2009 than 2007. That doesn’t mean the Reds will win the title in 2019 – just that, compared to last year, there’s scope for some hope.

    • Kate Elizabeth

      I think I agree with most of this and could extend it to the other Australian franchises as well – none of us are faring well in 2017 and have all been on a downhill slide. Pretty much every point (bar the coaching) is transferrable to the Brumbies and particularly the Waratahs. The Rebels and Force are exempt from some of it because they were mostly at the bottom and thus could not slide lower. I am very pleased to see the Force have reversed their position and I would love to see them continue in the competition – I think they took a while to find their feet but now are building something special. Their recruitment model seems to match with their coaching model (who’d a thunk it!). I hope too that Hodgson continues to have a massive presence at the club – he is an incredible leader.

    • idiot savant

      Tommy I think some of your ire is directed at me and I am only too happy to let you get that off your chest. Im sure you feel better now. Whats more, I agree with what you have written! Someone should pin it to the cork board at Ballymore. The line I particularly like is :

      “The same Reds who aimlessly kick possession away because they lack the tactical on-field nous to retain the ball, build pressure, manipulate defences and cleverly plot their way to the try line” Thats the truth.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate, I feel your pain and it’s always easier to look at the negative. Just to have some of the other side of the coin

      The play of the youngsters in the last couple of games I think shows the way forward for the Reds. Mafi, Rodda, Perese and a few others are incredibly enthusiastic and playing with a lot of heart.

      The way the Reds dug deep in a couple of games was really pleasing. This gave them wins against the Sharks and Brumbies and even against the Highlanders they never gave up. If they keep that up it’ll start to show some positive results.

      The interaction of players like Cooper and Hunt with the fans is helping retain a real good base of support and is something that will pay off.

      In a few games the margin was small. You can work and and turn those into better results so I think the team will definitely get better.

      Lots of work but there are positives and a way forward as long as the franchise management take it.

      • Bernie Chan

        KRL…the youngsters are the flicker of light at the end a a very long dark tunnel…Looking forward to seeing them step up to another level next season. We can look at the Lions (the Super Rugby Lions…not the B&I Lions…) in hope…not so long ago they were the battlers of SA rugby but topped the table this season while playing some expansive rugby.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree mate. It’ll take some vision and hard work but the future is there and was on show

        • Bernie Chan

          Vision, better coaching…and Brad Thorn’s increased influence!

  • Brumby Runner

    Just a point of contention Kate. Brumbies have 7 losing BPs while the Reds have 4. Think the Brumbies might have had the most close losses. However, your point is well made. The season for both teams would have been a lot more successful had they converted those losses to wins, and then the Aus conference would have looked very much stronger as well. What might have been.

  • Brumby Runner

    Anyone else think George Smith was lucky not to be YCed and have a penalty try against him for pinching the ball off Sopoaga as he was about to score?

    Sopoaga got the ball from the breakdown only cms out from the tryline after Tevita Li came up just short. He dived to place the ball against the base of the upright which would have been a try but George, who was in front of the upright somehow pinched the ball as he was diving. To my eyes, George was off side and deliberately infringed to stop the try being scored.

    Had it been seen that way by the officials, he would have deserved a YC and a penalty try would have been awarded.

  • Bernie Chan

    Bloody tough season to watch Oz rugby and the Reds…sort of glad Super Rugby is now ‘over’ and the focus shifts. Though I am pretty sure most Oz rugger fans have a sense of dread with the RC ahead.
    The positive out of this “train wreck” of a season is the number of young players who have had some Super Rugby exposure…Tupou, Tui, Timu, Mafi etc should be better next season…and Perese has shown he is a gun. Can Stiles lead them forward…Pity Simmons is going, but Douglas is staying!

  • Fatflanker

    Highlanders played from the get-go with the confidence of a team that just knew they couldn’t lose – came out throwing hay-makers straight from the first bell and seemed to catch QLD cold. The effort was there from the Reds but the inconsistency must do their supporters’ heads in – that scrumming performance – can we not at least get that consistently right?
    Anyway, not a Stiles fan but have to say the Reds really haven’t had much rub of the green all season – the early loss of Hunt was typical of their luck. They’re due a much improved season next year.

  • Adrian

    Wessels for Reds coach

  • Adrian

    I’m a NSW supporter, so perhaps I shouldn’t say anything!

    Each Australian SR team has major deficiencies, some unique to them, and some shared with other franchises.

    It goes without saying that the whole Australian SR thing is a cluster fuck.

    BUT

    Reds uniquely have very good players who can’t work as a team.

    And even more so, …very good forwards who can’t work as a pack.

    What’s causing it?

    I think that it’s an ATTITUDE thing passed down by coaches and senior players.

    Stiles body language (“it’s under control”), Moore’s body language (ditto), body language of other experienced players (ditto)

    Slipper was the same

    No despiration. No intensity.

    I don’t mean they should be panicking, just showing intensity and determination.

    I call it “fake layback”

    It infers that the veterans know more than the young guns.

    It’s infuriating to watch.

    If the Reds get Genia, it will be more of the same.

    There is no example at all being set for the younger guys, whether they are stars like Kerevi, or younger guys like Tuttle or Tui.

    Surely someone else has noticed this?

    • Bernie Chan

      It sure isn’t “under control” is it…agree with much of what you an BL have mentioned, but you are indeed a brave TAHs supporter to venture into the Red angst!
      On a broader Oz rugby note…how can the appointments of Larkham and Grey (Brumbies attack is rubbish, TAHs defence is almost unmentionable…) to increased roles with the Wallas be rationalised…?

      • Adrian

        The 2 worst picks you’d think.

        Here are some reasons, though not excused:

        Grey’s selection was Cheika from Tahs, afterall, he designed a defence that helped win Tahs a premiership, then helped Wallabies get to WC final.

        Larkham only got there because Cheika publicly called on ALL Australian SR coaches to join him when he was appointed. Graham and Foley (thankfully) said no.

        Cheika did this as part of a DEAL he did with the ARU when he was appointed.

        He was entrusted to unite factions and States, as well as Coach the Wallabies. As part of this he also had to appoint an “independent” captain (Moore), and bring Beale back to the fold, but to do this (Beale business) overseas (which he did at end of 2014), and not have Beale in run-on team (tick). Cheika and Larkham, and Cheika and Moore are not natural fits at all. Cheika has nonetheless stayed loyal, just as he expects loyalty, and gives loyalty in return. After the WC, Cheika announced that he, and all of his assistant coaches had vowed to stick together until 2019!

        With this deal, Cheika received (in return), the Giteau rule, the right to simultaneously coach the Wallabies and Waratahs and money.

        Cheika didn’t cause the shit that erupted under McKenzie, but was entrusted to fix it, and keep everyone (except McKenzie) in the tent.

        Larkham and Grey are still in the tent.

        They’ll only leave when Cheika chuck’s a big sooky, or is told the deal is over. In the meantime, the oddly matched 3 will bumble on

        • Bernie Chan

          That sure seems to be the way things panned out…alas…and “bumble on” is correct…

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well having re-watched the game in the cold hard light of a Brisbane winter morning, I have a bit of a different view from watching it live. And belive it or not GAGR’s BL’s view is slightly more positive. My points in no particular order:
    – The Highlanders came out at a blistering pace. Like the AB’s in the final game against the BIL’s. I see this as a potential new phase for the Kiwi’s who are generally slow starters (in my opinion).
    – The early injury of Special K was costly, but he looked to be having a bit of a Barry crocker to be honest.
    – Cooper didnt look that bad on reflection, there were some dumb moves, but also some serioulsy sublime passing. His kicking game was pretty good, and he is definitely doubling the distance that Pop-gun Foley is capable of achieving. He also defended reasonably well.
    – I also think that George Smtih is copping some tough love on here. I thought that despite the high penalty count (well he is a 7 ladies and gents that is his job to push the boundary) he made a great contribution.
    – The young Reds were standing up, Rodda, Perese etc look like they have the potential to take us forward.
    – At the 3;30 mark on a ruck George smith was put in a head lock and neck rolled out of it. Bloody dangerous, and was right in front of the referee. No penalty, nothing called, bloody stupid.
    – Reds were still littered with errors, but what impressed me was that they didnt give up. They fought, which is surprising.
    – I dont think Stiles is the man to take the Reds forward though. I want to see better coaching structures put in place. It would be good to see an experienced coach like a Jake White or a Laurie Fischer mentoring Brad Thorn til he takes over. I view Brad Thorn as our long term solution. (BL’s view only. I think he knows what skillls, knowledge and attitude are required to be a long term winning organisation).
    – The Highlanders played an entertaining game, at high tempo and deserved to win.

    However overall, the story of the Reds is common of all of the Aussie franchises this year. Poor skills, poor plan, crap defence. There should be a full training, and no off season for these boys. Skills and fitness would be my starting point.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

  • first time long time

    As with just about all laws there is interpretation.
    Mine would be that if a ball is loose on the the ground in the in goal downward pressure is all that’s required, control is not an issue.
    If however a player is carrying the ball over the line control is a prerequisite otherwise it’s a knock on.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Mate to be a knock on the ball must move forward from the arm below the elbow and actually leave contact with the body. Whenever a player places the ball with one hand he or she technically has not control as of they stop the downward movement the ball will come free of the body. I guess it does come down to an interpretation but IMO if the player doesn’t actually lose contact with the ball then for consistency it should be a try.

    I agree the try awarded afterwards was incorrect and the Highlanders should have been penalised for playing the ball on the ground. Once a knee touches the ground it is defined as a tackle so the player should have released the ball.

Queensland Reds
@the_kateproject

Arty-farty. Loves rugby. Good cook. Contrary. Is a New South Welshwoman who has never supported NSW. Only has eyes for the Reds. Likes raspberries and that intense mustard-yellow most people don't.

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