Queensland Reds lose 28-31 to Melbourne Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Queensland Reds lose 28-31 to Melbourne Rebels

Queensland Reds lose 28-31 to Melbourne Rebels

The lineup of departing Queensland Reds stalwarts was enough to bring a tear to the eye of Reds faithful – so much experience, so much Red pride was departing – Saia and Anthony Fainga’a, Curtis Browning, Jake Schatz, Benny Daley, Liam Gill and the mightiest of men and props, Greg Holmes – 146 caps for Queensland.  I know the team and the fans wanted to pull off a win against the wounded Rebels.  Two teams who were shellacked last week, playing for a scrap of pride and looking to the future.

The Match

Tom English had points on the board for the Rebels within 2 minutes off a break by Sean McMahon as it looked to Queensland Reds fans to be a repeat of last week’s loss to the Chiefs.  And to be honest, I wish it was that good.  The loose and non-existent tackles allowed the Rebels to take advantage of field position.  When you combine that with the crazy and panicked passing from the Reds it was enough to drive the fans to silence.

Liam Gill scored 2 tries in his final game for the Reds

Liam Gill scored 2 tries in his final game for the Reds

Nick Frisby’s try in the 15th minute showed what can happen with quick thinking and fast ball – but this was the only highlight of the first half for Reds’ fans.  Sean McMahon proved how dangerous he is when he struck for two quick tries within 5 minutes.  He was everywhere in the first half and his workrate was seriously impressive.  Toby Smith’s run to start the setup to McMahon’s second try was great if you were a Rebels fan and embarrassing if you were a Reds fan – he totally brushed off Nabuli, which is no mean feat.

The Queensland Reds continued to kick possession away or cough the ball up which cruelled their chances of keeping in touch with the score and they went into the sheds down 7-24.

Handling errors at crucial stages hampered the Reds

Handling errors at crucial stages hampered the Queensland Reds

Handling errors for the Queensland Reds continued to hamper their momentum as they fluffed phases with poor passes and lost ball, but they started the second half much better.  Alex Gibbon in his second match for the Reds did well to position himself for Liam Gill to pick and dive over for his second try.  The possession in the second half swung the way of the Reds, but in spite of less ball Tom English, Sean McMahon and Stirzacker still had maximum impact.

A try to Kerevi followed this and the Reds were back in the game.  Unfortunately however as happened frequently in the 2016 season the Reds allowed their opposition to hit back with a quick try.


It was edge of the seat stuff for Reds fans as the minutes ticked down.

Tupou went off, Holmes returned to the field and *surely* that meant the Reds could pull one out of the hat.  Surely.

All that was needed was level heads and no mistakes.


You know that was never going to happen.

Rebels won and it really was the end of an era as Saia Fainga’a, Curtis Browning, Benny Daley, Liam Gill and  Greg Holmes left the field for (mostly) the final time.

Curtis Browning makes a tackle on Sean McMahon

Curtis Browning tackle on Sean McMahon

3 wins from 15 games this year is appalling for the Queensland Reds.  Sacked coach.  Chairman departed early.  CEO resigned.  Co-interim head coaches.

14 debutants in a season where we can still farewell 7 experiences players says that things didn’t go to plan.

But I am looking at some bright moments – Campbell Magnay made it over the advantage line more in this match than I think we did for the last three matches combined, and he straightens in attack something we didn’t do a lot of either.  He is a powerful player at only 19 and I am looking forward to more of him next year.

Tom Banks in his starting debut was very solid in attack and may be good support for Karmichael Hunt next year.

Taniela Tupou needs work in the scrum, but has no problems taking the ball to the line and using his momentum to keep driving.  Looking forward to more of him next year.

Oh my word though, we need someone next year who can direct the backline.  My kingdom for an actual flyhalf who can compete at Super Rugby level.


The Game Changer

Sean McMahon’s back to back quick tries (29′ and 35′) in the first half put the nail in the coffin of the worst first half of the 2016 Reds’ season.  In the end, it was too much for the Reds to peg back.


Sean McMahon had a cracker of match in his return from injury and was high impact – most metres for the match, two tries, 5 defenders beaten and 11 runs.  (Unfortunately Sully he wasn’t a Notta tonight.)

Wallaby watch

I don’t think anyone has surprised and busted into the Wallabies squad in this match, but I think that next year for both teams might be a different story.  Hope, as they say, is eternal.

The Details

Crowd: 14, 126.  Bollocks to that one.

Score & Scorers

Queensland Reds: 28
Tries: N. Frisby (15), L. Gill (49), S. Kerevi (55), L. Gill (69)
Conversions: H. Taefu (16),N. Frisby (49), N. Frisby (56), N. Frisby (70
Melbourne Rebels: 31
Tries: T. English (2),S. McMahon (29),S. McMahon (34),N. Stirzaker (57)
Conversions: J. Debreczeni (3),J. Debreczeni (29),J. Debreczeni (35),J. Debreczeni (57)
Penalties: J. Debreczeni (11) 

Cards & citings

None.  Gotta love the inconsistency of the decisions over the last few weeks.  Bless.

  • BookiesMan

    Don’t forget the draw, KE.
    That was a highlight of the season – that and the Highlanders win.
    Reds 25–25 Blues
    Reds 28–27 Highlanders

    3.5 wins from 15, 3LBPs for 17 points

    14,126 punters through the gates though.
    Just think how they’d be queuing up if the Reds were any good.
    And well done Melbourne – 7 wins. Twice as many as Queensland.

    • Kate Elizabeth

      Yes, the draw that should have been a win. That was the moment that perhaps we thought our season turned around. It did. It turned a 360 and kept going down!

  • TouchRugby

    Just seen the highlights.
    I reckon it’s goaline defensive stands like the Reds and the Rebels put together that made Cheika think the Aussies could just bash thru England.
    Talk about “On The Beach Already” mentality

    • Snaffle

      Some very meek efforts out there in defense. The past two weeks have made me do a complete 180 on Kerevi in particular, a handful in attack for sure but how many missed tackles and try causes can he be involved in. Tom English looked the goods last night as did Gilly shame neither a really in the national set up at the moment. I’d happily put English up head to head on skill with the Wallaby VC Horne

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I agree mate. Devastating in attack but boy he needs to step up his defence. No commitment and shit technique

      • Flat Pass

        Any info on what happened to Cam Crawford?

        • Mr Wobbly

          He broke his hand in the game against the ponies, had surgery and out for the rest of the season.

      • RobC

        Samu K in 1H had defensive issues because the man inside him was too far in. too slow to read the D. This left Samu and Chris K too much space to protect.

        His total missed tackles in 1. Henry in 37′ made zero tackles. One missed. It was 15 vs 14.

        The guys who missed the most were:
        – Sef and Ready 4 each. Mostly in 1H
        – Outside backs because of spacing issues

  • Brisneyland Local

    Kate, good write up! There is only so much you can say when you are disillusioned!
    I must admit that the first half of the game was truly the worst half of professional rugby I have ever seen. The Reds were at their appalling worst. It was almost to the stage where I was praying for the Richard Graham days (yes I know, I know). I have seen Under 15 D teams perform with greater skills than what I saw there at Suncorp.
    The Rebels were pretty strong upfront and outmuscled the weak Reds.
    The Reds only good points were:
    * Liam F’in Gill.
    *Campbell Magnay had a really good game and was the only person going forward.
    * Frisby had a good / accurate night kicking for conversions.
    Other than that the Reds absolutely Blew dog!
    *We cant pass.
    *We cant Catch.
    *We cant hang onto the ball.
    *Our line out was too inconsistent.
    *Our Scrum was not upto its usual standard.
    *Our game plan was shite! (if we actually had one at all!
    * Our defence was non-existant.
    The Rebels deserved to win and at time looks pretty good. But that is not hard up against a team that looked that bad.
    The two Co-Coaches are utter rubbish and if the Reds select either of them as the new coach going forward we are in for three more years like the Richard Graham era.
    No wonder so many of our players are leaving / left. The Reds are in Dire straits, and Daniel Herbert has to act and act quickly. What we can not afford to see is the QRU being their usual piss weak self, and using nepotism as the basis for selection of coaching staff.
    As a Reds member for well over a decade I am truly disheartened again. I thought it was bad during the Woody Graham era, but it is heading to be worse than that. We have hit rock bottom and pulled out an excavator.
    Not even the beer at the Reds members bar could drown out the sorrow.
    Such a pity to see Liam F’in Gill, Holmesy, Daley, the legendary Fainga’a twins and the others all depart on such a shit house performance.
    The more I write the more angry I am getting.

  • Dave

    Look all you Reds fans, despite this being Round 17 and the bloke getting fired way back in Round 2, it is essential you all continue to pile all the blame here on Richard Graham. That way you’ll continue to ignore the real issues that have damaged Queensland (and Australian?) rugby for the past 5 years. It is comical.

    • SuckerForRed

      I agree to a certain extent. Would like to know what you think the real issues are though.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Kate I feel sorry for you mate. That first 20 minutes was just shit and really exemplified the Reds season. What made it worse was that they showed they actually are competitive when they play well. Why the hell were they so crap at the start? I agree with comments here that none of the current coaching team should be kept on. Get someone skilled and experienced (with a good record, not crap like Graham) in to run the show, get in a good team to support him/her and then hold the players responsible. If I had to watch a team lose but knew everyone was working hard and learning and could see them getting better I’d be ok. Watching these players give up and seemingly not care really grated me. Such a disappointment

    • It was supposed to be my gig and I had to cancel at the last minute and Kate stepped up. Thanks Kate!

      • Kate Elizabeth

        Haha. All good matey. But thankfully that is over, onto Prems finals and NRC!

    • Richard

      I suspect for 2 years now, the Reds have approached plenty of skilled and experienced head coaches with good records. The problem is none want to go there. I don’t think it has anything to do with the Queensland weather or Brisbane as a city to live. I do think it has a lot to do with an environment and culture at the once proud Queensland Reds that has become too disruptive to allow success.

      • Kate Elizabeth

        Agree Richard. It seems that the departure of the CEO and Chairman hasn’t seen much of an improvement either. I think it is a tough situation for the coaches and players as well – no one master or master plan. Bad decisions and not the right talent plan.

        • Brisneyland Local

          That is because the QRU is so inbred that they produce haemophiliac obsequious rugby types that bleed to death at the slightest knick of rugby reality!

        • RobC

          It would be ridiculous to expect improvements this year.

          There is no way, a new Chairman, CEO will turn the ship around once the season has started.

          This year was written off, the moment they renewed RG last year. Which right-minded high-quality coach would drop their job and their team mid-season?

          Even if they somehow found a great coach, what can he or she do within a season?

          And its highly unlikely next year will be any major improvement ie reaching the finals. The Brums Reds and Tahs showed that, when new coaches took over (ie Jake White, EM, Check, Gibbo).

          That is the extent of the damage of the last two seasons

        • Kate Elizabeth

          I am less about improvements Rob and more about not losing ground and having the players on the field look like they give a toss in defence and attack. The basics like finding touch when you need it, tackling and getting over the gain line shouldn’t take a year to find post RG – I don’t see any excuse for the team missing these.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That is really sad. If the CEO and Chairman have gone along with the underperforming coach who is creating the issues?

  • Keith Butler

    Whatever Sean McMahon has bottle it and inject the rest of Aussie pack with it. He is a machine, I shall name him the Seanminator. If he had a few more cms and Kgs he’d be the Aussie 6 for years though still well worth his place. Thought Stirzaker played his best game for a good few weeks. Personally, I’d relieve him of the captaincy and let him focus on his game. The Rebs badly need some back up props and a lock to replace Jones. Retallick and Jefferies did pretty well though. Defence more solid with Inman. English had a good game and Asquith did ok at FB.

    • Harry

      McMahon is a hugely admirable player but as we saw in June just doesn’t have the size needed to play 6 or 8 at test level. Big difference to busting through pathetic Reds defence and doing it against NZ, SA or England.

      • Keith Butler

        Unfortunately you’re right. To much competition at 7 but worth a place in the 23.

      • Flat Pass

        He did lots of that against the English in the 3rd test

      • jamie

        Size is irrelevant. Strength and momentum is key. S McMahon at 100kg is a far greater linebender than Skelton or Palu, who have 45 and 25kg on him.

        • Keith Butler

          At super level yes but at international level? Just did a quick tour of the NZ super rugby squads. Most have a 6 who’s 1.90m+ and between 105 and 110 Kgs – Kaino, Messam, Dixon. I don’t think size is irrelevant so we’ll have to agree to disagree. SeanMc our best player by a country mile this season and as for Skelton and Palu, overrated and past his prime in that order.

        • jamie

          While the players are between 105-110kg, their raw strength or aggression is not necessarily better than McMahon’s. It’s rare to find a smaller guy so strong compared to those bigger Blindside’s internationally, but they can match it with big boys.

  • Worn out

    The Rebels schedule was rugged and the Jaguares worse. Has anyone done an analysis of how many kilometres travelled to earn each point on the Table, or similar useful statistic?

    The Rebels-Reds match was a sideshow and so I don’t understand why the complaints about the crowd. There are entire large chunks of conferences that are a sideshow. This has been a very badly-designed year for Super Rugby.

    • Kevino

      Interesting point though, The Rebels won more on the road than at home. Also the Rebels won all 3 away games in Australia. Only lost to the Brumbies out of the Australian teams.

  • RobC

    Thanks Kate.

    I thought Duncan P did a fine job at 5/8. His form lifted quite a bit since last year. And will improve more once he gets used to SR pace – this should reduce charge downs etc

    Not worried too much about filling the flyhalf position, except maybe QC, and QC / DP’s understudy. In particular two things:
    – his fitness. I hope he remains injure free. His fitness record has been poor
    – his attitude. I hope there is no big boss / “my way or highway” mentality

    For this game, one of the main difference I thought in the two halves is Henry Taefu. Whilst he killed it in NRC, I think he was not ready for the #12 jersey both attack and defence.

    After he was replaced just before halftime the Reds lifted their game. Their short LO was poorly executed at this point though.

    I also think halftime rev and adjustments directed by Stiles got them going again. I hope the Reds keep Stiles, and is developed sufficiently.

Queensland Reds

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.

More in Queensland Reds