Queensland Reds 2017 Season Review - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Queensland Reds 2017 Season Review

Queensland Reds 2017 Season Review

This was (yet another) tough season to be a Reds supporter. Watching the matches was tough enough let alone reviewing them, so the thought of actually writing a season review was fairly uninviting.

There’s an old saying, though, that a problem shared is a problem halved. Once again, GAGR has gone over and above this however and split the problem four ways. We’ve gathered some of our regular Queensland correspondents together to breakdown the season together. So over to you Shane “Sully” Sullivan, Kate Elizabeth and Sucker for Red (SFR). Oh, and I’ll help out too.

Season Rating:

Sully – D. The Reds drag themselves up to a D with their attack which was actually quite good. To put things kindly everything else was poor. Their fitness wasn’t where it needed to be. There was little commitment in defence, but that was nothing compared to the free ride the Reds gave the opponents through unforgivably silly penalties and yellow cards The Reds greatest opposition this year was their own demons. The demons won.

Kate – C minus. Overall this season hurt.  Too many games we should have won, high profile players not playing to their hype/potential/signing fee, younger players not delivering at the same level they have in previous seasons (which is a major concern in my eyes) and blooding a LOT of freshies.

SFR – D. Not quite an F for fail….. We did get one more win this year than last.

Reg – D minus. I came very close to an F but I think there have been enough (just) positives out of 2017 to avoid the outright ‘fail’ mark. Perhaps the question needs to be asked as to whether our own expectations for the team were too high? Regardless, there were too many negatives to let a handful of good things get in the way of an accurate review. As the others have said, undisciplined play was such a clear factor throughout the season. Why? Is that fitness, culture, attitude? It cost us big time without doubt.

Biggest issue of the year:

Sully - I could say defence or discipline or teamwork but to me, these problems all come back to belief. Belief in themselves, belief in each other and belief in their coaches.

Kate – The last 15 minutes of four or five matches killed our win/loss ratio.  I attribute it to a rather nasty combination of poor fitness, inexperience on our bench and six inches between the ears.

SFR - A negative 158 for & against says it all really. Only teams with a worse record were the Sunwolves & the Rebels. Discipline was our own worst enemy. You can’t be penalised that much and leak that many points and expect to win.

Reg - Intensity. I struggled to find the right word for this but to me the team were never able to play with the complete intensity for a game. Note that I’m not looking for 80 mins of aggression and mad dogging. I mean the type of footy they showed against the Waratahs at Suncorp, but sustained for the match. The kiwis do it week in week out. They don’t let the opposition off the hook when under the pump. The have a killer instinct. The Reds too often just seemed content to try rather than execute definitively.

Eto Nabuli receives a yellow card for a high tackle on Peter Grant

Eto Nabuli receives a yellow card for a high tackle on Peter Grant

Season Low-point:

Sully - The fade-out against the Crusaders! That hurt but it wasn’t just that game it was a series of fade-outs across games. But the Crusaders really stood out to me because it was so winnable.

Kate – Losing twice to the Western Force and in particular the 40-26 drubbing at home in Round 14.  Credit to Dave Wessels and the Western Force in spite of the palaver caused by the 48-72 hour timeframe *cough* they managed to do what we couldn’t do – win quite convincingly.  Perhaps we would have won more if we were under threat

SFR - Losing to the Tahs. It is always going to be a low point when we lose to the Tahs. And not just because I was sitting in the crowd with Waratahs supporters…….

Reg - The South African / Argentina tour.  We started the season reasonably well with a win, a loss away to the Force and then that heart breaker against the Crusaders. But it all went boobs up out of country. A smashing by the Lions and a reasonable loss to the Jaguares, both on the back of a spate of cards (red to Quade plus yellows to Douglas, Nabilu (two) put us on the back for the rest of the season.

Crusaders celebrate a win after the siren

Crusaders celebrate a win after the siren

Season High-point:

Sully - This one is hard. In a season where highlights are few and far between the only thing that comes to mind is the final home game win against the Brumbies.

Kate - The squeakiest of one point wins over the Brumbies in the final home match to give fans a teeny lift and to send Simmons off with a win.  I understand Rob Simmons is a polarising player for many people, and I know he hasn’t punched at the weight he used to, but I fail to see the sense* in keeping two almost permanently injured players on the roster and finishing him. *Admitting total bias here as a Sunnybank fan

SFR - Almost beating the Crusaders. Remember that? Way back in round 3? We beat the Sharks in Round 1. Lost to the Force….. let’s not discuss that. But then were leading the Crusaders until an 80th minute penalty gave them the game. I know it is odd to nominate a lost game, but I think that was one of their best games they played all year. At that point I was thinking the season might not be all bad.

Reg - I love that we beat somewhat of a hoodoo to get over the Brumbies in that last Suncorp game, but it wasn’t the most memorable match. But that first hour against the Waratahs was fantastic to watch from the moment the team ran onto the field in maroon, big Lukhan’s running game and some Quade magic. I’ll ignore the terrible refereeing performance and the last 20 minutes, but I think that was as close to the best we played all year.


Player of the Year:

Sully – Samu Kerevi. Samu is the player they build the back line around, the focus of the give it to Samu game plan, the player who can always make metres and he did it all with a smile that says he loves the game. To top everything else he stepped into the captain’s role without a hiccup.

Kate – Karmichael Hunt.  He delivered this year in defence and attack.  His experience was also invaluable for the debutants this season.  Totally bummed we won’t get to see him in The Rugby Championship

SFR – This is actually quite hard…… lots seemed to have flashes of brilliance but then would disappoint the following week.  For consistency I guess Karmichael Hunt probable had a good season. Duncan Paia’aua also did alright.  Or do I just bite the bullet & go with one of the rookies?

Reg – It’s Karmichael Hunt for me too. He was exceptional and we missed him when he wasn’t on the field (either through injury or yellow cards). He played with the intensity that I alluded to above. I want to acknowledge Duncan Paia’aua too who had his best season in Red. Long may it continue.

Queenslander! - Karmichael Hunt

Queenslander! – Karmichael Hunt

Rookie of the Year:

Sully - Izaia Perese. The word on Perese has been filtering through for a while and this year he showed that the promise could be real. He’s fast, I’ve seen him tackle much bigger men with ease, and he’s happy to bust his gut to get to the right spot on the field to make a difference. All good things.

Kate - Izaia Perese had a solid debut season after injury cruelled his chances in 2016.  Strong ball running, hardworking and no nonsense I am looking forward to seeing more of him

SFR - There are 2 which I find hard to separate. Izack Rodda certainly took his opportunities with both hands and Izaia Perese who I’m pretty sure I would not want to be tackled by him….. I actually thought he debuted in 2016 but apparently not.

Reg - Izaia Perese wins it for me too. I love the guy. Still, some finishing touches needed on his game but he’s bloody exciting. The young guys coming through were some of the real positives of the season – Rodda, Vanzati, Mafi, Sanday and Stewart. Just need those more experienced heads to step up a little.

Izaia Perese lools for a hole

Izaia Perese lools for a hole

What’s the #1 thing we need to fix for next year?:

Sully - So many to choose from! You could say defence, discipline or new coaches, you could name a few players to buy but the one thing the Reds need to fix is Quade Cooper’s body. I was actually pleased to see him miss the Wallaby squad in a strange way, I hope he can use the time to get things working again like Karmichael Hunt has.

Kate - The last 15 minutes.

SFR - See my above comment about discipline. I think we also need to send our leadership group on a ref wrangling course.  They also need to work on playing for the full 80mins. I am not going to say that this is “fitness”, like seems to be the popular word at the moment. They just need to stay switched on & concentrating for 80 mins. The lapses in concentration are/were punished. Is this “fitness”? Maybe. I don’t really know. I think it is not as much a physical fitness issue as a mental fitness issue.

Reg - Reds recruited heavily for experienced players last year with Higgers, Smith and Moore the man signings. What we lacked was experience in the coaching box. That’s what we need to fix. The Force model of experienced assistant coaches helping a younger coach should be replicated. I’m not sure if Tony McGahan is the man for that role as has been rumoured, but I think Stiles needs more support and experience around him.

So that’s our perspective? Give us yours in the comments section below and maybe we can solve all the issues together!


  • dru

    Coaching is the issue for me. We are stuck with Stiles just like the WBs are stuck with Cheika. Assistants might be fine otherwise but not good enough with our HC. S&C and strategy another area for consideration.

    I’m calling the year for an “F”. Very concerned going forward.

    • John Tynan

      And I’m not sure the HC’s personality issues let him have experienced people or contrarians around him.

  • jay-c

    Great read, but wow the coaching got off lightly in your assessments.

    • SuckerForRed

      Yeah. For my part the reason that I did not mention the coaching it that this was Stiles first full season completely in charge. Talk to me at the end of next season……

  • Brumby Runner

    At the beginning of the season, I tipped the Reds and Brumbies to fight out the Aus conference. I am not happy that the Reds’ season finished as low as it did, but otoh the relative success by the Force is a little inspiring.

    A couple of areas I think the Reds could improve are, coaching (obviously) and the captain. As an outsider, I don’t think Kerevi is an inspiring captain, still appears to be a bit immature on the field, and I believe his performances might have been affected by the responsibility. Particularly in defense, he was not up the standard of play he had shown in previous seasons.

    I believe the Reds will have a better year in 2018.

    • dru

      Surely Slipper returns as C.

    • jamie

      I feel Kerevi is very much a leader, but maybe not captain. He’s a “let’s go”, not a “here’s how we do it” kinda guy. His leadership and presence on field are almost all to do with what he does, not what he says.

  • RugbyReg

    just change it then.

    • SuckerForRed

      I can’t….

      • BigNickHartman

        I’ve changed it. Does it look good now?

  • kp

    Fitness must surely be an area of weakness. The late fade outs in 4 games in the last 10 minutes highlight this.

    The kiwi teams by contrast looked like they had another 20 minutes of game time in the tank.

    • I think the Kiwis look at fitness completely differently to us. They have to be don’t they?

      • BigNickHartman

        Armstrong Vitamins?

      • idiot savant

        And you would think that by now someone would have sent some spies over to NZ to suss out their training regimes. Or, recruit a kiwi fitness coach. Whats that old saying about how if you keep doing the same thing you’ll keep getting the same result?

  • BigNickHartman

    As bad as Reds fans might think their season went…the Waratahs finished beneath Queensland in the table.

    • Garry

      Unfortunately for the reds, finishing lower on the table was a WB selection prerequisite. Surely they received Cheika’s memmo. Although it did get posted late in the SR season.

  • Brad

    Rating: F
    Biggest issue: Dumb players and dumber coaching – basic skills of catching & passing
    Low Point: Gifting the game to the Waratahs at home – (the team just couldn’t be arsed against the Force)
    High Point: The ticker shown in the match against the Crusaders (slightest glimmer of hope – albeit false hope)
    Player of the year: George Smith, without him the the score line would have been 50+ week in week out!
    Rookie of the year: None – they all need time in grade football!
    Fix for next year: Teach Perese, Kerevi & Paia’aua how to catch, pass and tackle would be a fantastic starting point.

    • idiot savant

      I reckon George Smith was worth 6 points a game – to the opposition.

      • McWarren

        Agreed, I was pretty happy too see him sign for the Reds, now I wish he’d head for the Brumbies. He didn’t offer the playing impact or leadership promised.

        • idiot savant

          And which aspiring number 7s were given excellent tutelage under him for the future? Certainly none that played any minutes. Smith played 80 mins nearly every game.

        • McWarren

          Which is probably why we’ve invited him back next year.

          I know young guys should just keep their heads down work but I really feel for Gunn and Ready, both kind of went off the boil this year and I can only put it down to Smith and Moores arrival. So next year instead of Gill/ Gunn, Ready and Simmons we’ll have Smith, Moore and Fouglas.

    • John Tynan

      Perese just has to catch and run fast – I thought he did that pretty well. and his one on one tackling is (as one of the writers said above) of a quality that has him making larger players look ordinary.
      Kerevi’s catching no probs, passing not too bad, defensive positioning a worry for sure
      Paia’aua – I’m just not sure how you get to your statement. One of the few all round games in the Reds squad – ie can do everything pretty well. A couple of positional lapses in defence, but he didn’t miss many when he got a shoulder on. His passing is actually pretty good, and he hits a gap better than most Aussie inside centres.

  • idiot savant

    Its interesting you say their season got off to a good start. I remember thinking that two things were noticeably good early. The exits and the kicking meant the Reds didn’t play as much in their own half. And I thought their clean outs looked accurate early on. They seemed to have time to set up plays.

    Then all of a sudden Stiles blamed Frisby for ? and promoted Tuttle. The exits got worse. The Reds played more in their own half. And the clean outs faded along with Cooper’s concentration. Cooper had some brilliant patches but fair dinkum he just seems to go AWOL mentally for long periods particularly late in games. And I don’t buy that it was all the forwards fault.

    I actually worry about the reuniting of Genia and Cooper next season. I see slow delivery, Cooper standing deeper, and more fade outs in that combo at this stage in their successful careers. Which would be a shame because the best thing about the season was a slew of young players who just might be able to up the intensity level next season.

    How could a side with Brad Thorn as an assistant coach appear so unfit?

  • John Tynan

    Biggest issue of the year: The global search that ended in the carpark and put another old boys club at the helm on the back of the last old boys proponent. After the old boys voted in another couple of positions for old boys to make sure it happened, of course.

  • McWarren

    Season rating: D
    Biggest issue for me, is we tried to win it this year, we bought in Higgers, Moore and Smith, Leroy, oh and Moranta. We should be concentrating right now on keeping Perese, Magnay, Nabuli , Duncan P, Stewart, Tuttle, Korczyk (though my jury is still out on him), Gun, Rodda, Tui x 2, Ready, Sef, Tupou, Talaki and getting Liam effing back. That’s the guts of the 2020 and beyond championship team.

    Lowest point was the disastrous tour to Africa and Argie. A win on tour and suddenly the team gels, I just get the feeling that the old guys like Moore and Smith didn’t really gel with the young fella’s. and we lost our Captain.

    High point of the season has to be the emergence of genuine young alternatives to the old brigade. As named above. Beating the Brumbies by a point went someway to easing the pain of losing to the Tahs, especially a Tahs team as rudderless and shit as the current one.

    Rookie of the year, nearly went with Perese for his obvious ability, but he needs to work on his angry pill dosage. So I’ve given it to Tuttle. I’d love to have seen him and Hamish Stewart given the reigns in the last two games, especially as Quade was carrying an injury.

    Which brings me to what to fix. I don’t want to blame the coaches solely, as I think the senior players went missing this year, but Stiles seemed to lack the tactical nous and confidence in his decisions. He needs support from a Link or Macqueen. Why when your season is lost and your 10 is hobbling would you not put on Stewart. Stiles took far too long to make subs decisions. Hopefully in reflection he’ll see this, as said elsewhere if we haven’t improved this time next year then I’ll start questioning his ability.

    For me the time is ripe to put a broom through most of the old guys. I’d keep Higgers and Quade (if only to mentor Hamish Stewart), slipper is back next year, Kerevi is now a senior player and Hunt is also a leader, build a team around them. Let Douglas, Moore, Smith go and stop persisting with guys who haven’t stepped up such as Frisby andKuridrani. And I like Kate wish Simmons was staying.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well not that much more that I can add to that, that more articulate and witty people have already written
    By Bravo Zulu’s to Reg, Sully, and our wonderful Kate and SFR.

    My very minor points in no particular order:
    – Skills, skills and skills. Much work needs to be done on this in the off season.
    – Fitness. Nuff said.
    – Be brilliant at the basics!
    – The season could have been worse. We could have been the Waratahs!
    – There are no more evenings my two little daughters have to endure their daddy’s crying all the drive home from Suncorp. Except for Wallaby matches.
    – We need to find a better coach. My view is give Brad Thorn the reigns! Look what he has done with the Under 21’s. Give him total control and I would expect better results.

    Still not sure if I am renewing my family membership!

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The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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