Mafi Double Gets Reds Out of Trouble - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Mafi Double Gets Reds Out of Trouble

Mafi Double Gets Reds Out of Trouble

The Queensland Reds left it to the last 2 minutes to take the lead in their Round 2 Super Rugby AU match, defeating the Melbourne Rebels 23 – 21. Alex Mafi’s second try of the night levelled the scores, with James O’Connor’s conversion giving a narrow lead.

The Rebels had a chance to snatch it back in the last 30 seconds, but Matt Toomua‘s boot, accurate all night, pushed it wide.

Alex Mafi scores his second try to level the scores

Alex Mafi scores his second try to level the scores

The Match

The first half was a snooze-fest, with the only highlight Hunter Paisami‘s tackle on Matt Toomua. The Super Rugby AU referees continued their crack-down on off-side (and other infringements) and the only scoring was 4 penalty goals to the Rebels and 2 to the Reds. Half-time score Rebels 12 – Reds 6

Matt Toomua kicks one of his 6 penalties

Matt Toomua kicks one of his 6 penalties


Thankfully the 2nd half breathed some life into a moribund game. The Reds had been guilty of not respecting possession enough in the first half, and not building pressure to score points. The Melbourne Rebels , on the other hand, had barely been in the Reds half, but came away with points. The Reds eventually got their first try after Alex Mafi dived over from a rolling maul.

A Queensland Reds rolling maul led to their first try

A Queensland Reds rolling maul led to their first try

Alex Mafi scores his first try

Alex Mafi scores his first try


The Rebels hit back immediately with a massive 50 metre penalty goal from Reece Hodge, from out wide, after the Reds were penalized for off-side.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Feao Fotuaika was red-carded for dangerous entry to a ruck when attempting a clean-out on Richard Hardwick . Despite being down a man, the return of Taniela Tupou seemed to focus the Reds. Alex Mafi then looked to have scored a second try, after Hunter Paisami regathered a James O’Connor chip kick,  and found Mafi in space on the wing, but Mafi lost the ball when tackled just short of the line.

Alex Mafi on the fly

Alex Mafi on the fly

Mafi got his double a few minutes later, breaking off the back of another rolling maul, and charging over for a try to level the scores. James O’Connor duly converted for the lead with 2 minutes to go.

The game had one more twist though, when Hunter Paisami was penalized for a high tackle, with 30 seconds to go. Matt Toomua was left with a 40 metre attempt at goal for the win. Although Toomua had been very accurate all night, kicking 6 from 7, he pushed the kick wide, and that was the game. Reds 23 – Rebels 21

Alex Mafi scores the winning try

Alex Mafi scores the winning try

The Game Changer

Feao Fotuaika’s Red card for the dangerous clean-out on Richard Hardwick . Seemed to snap the Reds out of their slumber. The card also saw the return of Taniela Tupou and the Reds scrum dominated in the last 20 minutes


Alex Mafi for his 2-tries, which should have been a hat-trick, but he lost the ball when tackled just short of the line

Wallaby watch

Matt Toomua kicked well off the tee, but we didn’t see much of the outside backs. Jordan Uelese injured an ankle.

Alex Mafi put his hand up. Good timing with Brandon Paenga-Amos, Folau Faingaa, and Jordan Uelese under injury clouds

The Details

Crowd: Not shown at the game – less than 10,000
Score & Scorers

Queensland Reds : 23
Tries: Alex Mafi 2
Conversions: James O’Connor 2
Penalties: James O’Connor 3

Melbourne Rebels : 21
Penalties: Matt Toomua 6, Reece Hodge

Cards & citings

Red card: Feao Fotuaika (dangerous clean-out)



  • Yowie

    I think the Rebels were paying $5 to the Reds $1.20 or something.

    One unlucky kick away from a big payday for some punters.

    • Westo

      I had the Reds paying $2 to win by 13. No joy. I’ve just doubled my bet fro the brumbies bu 15 tonight. Also paying just under $2.

  • Westo

    As a Reds supporter I really struggle to watch this game as we almost expect a running game when the Reds are involved. This was not allowed to happen with continuity being taken away by infringements and overzealous referring. The kicking dual was not a great spectacle, though did make it intriguing at the end. I had my bro over trying to get him back into the Reds and regrettably this game failed to convinced him. I’m glad we got the win but look forward to more open games win or lose.

    • RedAnt

      Don’t think it was entirely the refereeing that ruined it, the Rebels’ game plan seems to be to squeeze the life out of the opposition and hope they can kick enough penalties to get ahead. It’s Wessels’ inferior version of Jakeball and it’s successfully got the club mired in mediocrity.

  • Reds Revival

    They don’t have much attacking flair (in spite of having Cheika’s attack coach in their ranks), but the Rebels sure know how to defend.
    I loved Paisami’s hit on 2Cows – I winced every time they replayed it.

    • laurence king

      RR, haven’t seen the game yet, question, was the send-off warranted? Cheers

      • I haven’t seen the game, but I saw the highlights. And yes, the way they’re applying the laws, it’s a RC. Five years ago, probably not even a penalty though, which has some people up in arms. But it’s a direct hit to the head, charging in.

        In the same way rugby changed the interpretation around competing for the high ball, it’s changing the interpretation around the contact with the head because of the long-term health risks for players. It’s catching players out now, but they will adapt.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Absolutely it was.

        • laurence king

          Thanks for that. Cheers

    • IIPA

      Rebs offered little. Only Pincus looked sharp and only big units Pose and Cabous took the ball up hard. Wilkin and Hardwick played the pests perfectly. Thought Powell and Toomua in attack were underwhelming and the centre pairing didn’t really gel.

      So yes the Rebels should’ve done more with this game. Way the ref I thought was far too pedantic and I reckon 40% of his penalties were for involvements that had zero impact on the game.

      • Hambone

        To be honest was hoping for a little more flair in attack from the boys, first hit out of the season aside, they just didn’t look like threatening to break the line, let alone cross one.
        Forwards carried their weight, especially after losing matty to the frogs.
        Brumbies up next will be a real test. They have picked up where they left off last year without skipping a beat, a well oiled unit across each facet of their game..

    • Geoffro

      So much to like about Paisami.Everyone going Samu who ?? nowadays

  • Keith Butler

    Can really argue with the result 3 tries to zip. I was expecting the Rebs to be hammered but the pack more than held its own apart from one scrum when Tupou came back on. Other than that we played an intelligent game, taking points on offer with a great defensive effort. Bit of a worry that we offered little outside but that may well have been the game plan. Reds deserved the win though.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well that game was hard to watch. Ball skills from both team were shite. The dulaity of the game is not to be scoffed at.
    One team had all the attack in the world to burn but were their own worst enemy in dropping the ball or pushing passes. The other team, couldnt attack for shit, but defended like bastards.
    Reds held their head and closed it out.
    Whilst the Red was a red byt the rules, It was soft at best, and could have ruined the game. But the Reds seemed to get sparked back into life.
    A lot to work on for both teams. And a lot of individual players really stood up. But gee it was like a Bulldog eating custard.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Well that didn’t go as expected. Where was the fluency and passing from last week? Too many dumb decisions giving away needless penalties by the Reds and if they don’t sort this out they’ll continue to struggle. I did like the way they defended the lineout drive and I think this will make the game against the Brumbies interesting. While Toomua and JOC are great comeback stories I think they both proved tonight they are stop gap measures at best and both Harrison and Lolesio are better 10’s. Lolesio looking good but getting by far the best run from his forwards and 9.

  • Red Block

    Hard to believe Two Cows was given the official MOTM, he was solid in defence but didn’t really set up his outside backs at all and he created little in attack.
    On the upside, Mafi’s line out throws were excellent and as we know anyone who throw the ball into the line out is basically a WBs starter.

Melbourne Rebels

Rugby tragic, who combines his two hobbies of rugby and photography.

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