Rebels and Reds play out historic draw - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Rebels and Reds play out historic draw

Rebels and Reds play out historic draw

Super Rugby Australia got it first taste of Super Time as the Rebels and Reds battled it out at Brookvale Oval.

In wet conditions, the Rebels looked set to secure the all-important win in the reduced competition when Billy Meakes latched onto an intercept pass to put the Melbourne side up 18-8 in the 68th minute.

However, James O’Connor would keep his side in the contest, slotting the penalty goal before putting Chris Feauai-Sautia into a hole with seconds remaining, producing the perfect pop-up pass for Alex Mafi to cross under the posts to send the game into extra time.

Unfortunately, neither side could manage to break the deadlock, with the game ending in an 18-all draw.

First Half

After a brief back and forward period, it would be the Rebels who would get on the scoreline first at a wet Brookvale Oval, with Matt Toomua slotting the penalty goal in the 7th minute.

The slippery conditions from the earlier downfall played havoc with both sides as they traded handling errors throughout the first half.

The Rebels would continue to gain ascendency at scrum time, allowing them to dominate possession and territory.

However, they would fail to capitalise, with an ambitious 45-metre drop goal from Toomua sailing wide.

This allowed the Reds to go onto the attack, with some classic running rugby breaking the Rebels backline open, although they would fail to take advantage of their opportunities.

As both teams waste opportunities, the Rebels looked like they finally score a try in the 40th minute, however, Richard Hardwick failed to manoeuvre the sideline and was put into touch.

The referee would then call out Hamish Stewart, yellow carding him for a cynical foul as he was deemed to have held onto the tackle for too long, deliberating slowing the ball down.

Matt Toomua would slot the resulting penalty to put the Rebels ahead 6-0 going into the break.

Halftime: Rebels 6-0

Filipo Daugunu scores in the corner

Filipo Daugunu scores in the corner

Second Half

The second half was then throttled into action when Bryce Hegarty got whacked up Pone Fa’amausili.

Seeing Hegarty get sent into the shadow realm woke the Reds up, who would cross for the first try of the match when Filipo Daugunu stepped DHP to score in the corner. James O’Connor would miss the conversation to leave the Rebels narrowly ahead 6-5.

Both teams would then come together to exchange numbers/handbags after a late cleanout on Frasier McReight. James O’Connor would then step up to slot a 40-metre penalty goal to put the Reds back in front.

However, they wouldn’t lead for long, with the Rebels catching the Reds out as they spread the ball off the lineout, with local boy Reece Hodge finishing off the move.

O’Connor would have a chance to level the score, however, would miss the penalty shot from a similar position to his first penalty shot.

The Rebels would then turn the game on his head, with Billy Meakes latching onto an O’Connor short pass, running 50 metres to put the Rebels up 18-6.

With time running out, O’Connor would bring the Reds back into the contest as he nailed a penalty from in front.

O’Connor would then put Chris Feauai-Sautia into a hole with seconds remaining, who produced the perfect pop pass to allow Alex Mafi to tie the game up, sending the game into Super Time.

End of regular time: 18-all

Super Time

As he headed into the unknown, both teams employed plenty of kicking as they seemingly played not to lose with not one field goal attempted by either side.

Towards the end of the first half of extra time, the Reds would earn a penalty on the halfway line after a dominant scrum.

This set up fullback Bryce Hegarty to win the game towards the end of the first half of extra time, however, his attempt would fade to the right of the posts.

With both sides kicking for territory, replacement outside back Reece Hodge would take advantage of the 50/22 rule, gifting the Rebels a prime opportunity, however, they would lose the resulting line-out.

Both teams would then look for possessions, with neither team able to break the deadline as the game went down a draw.

Final Score: 18-all

The Game Changer

With the game all but buried, Feauai-Sautia’s vision to find Mafi kept the Reds alive and sent the game into Super Time, earning the Reds the two points.



It’s hard to pick one man from that lacklustre performance. James O’Connor probably was the best of a bad bunch, setting up both the Reds tries whilst slotting two penalty goals. Pone Fa’amausili and Billy Meakes were the best from the Rebels, with Fa’amusili bullying the Reds pack whilst Meakes remained a constant threat throughout the match.

Wallaby watch

JOC was my MOTM yet he wasn’t perfect, gifting Meakes his intercept try before he got the Reds back into the contest. Toomua seemingly couldn’t execute anything, struggling with his kicking game. Fa’amausili was impressive during his stint on the field and it won’t be mentioned with the rest of the young stars as one for the future.


Rebels 18
tries: Hodge, Meakes
cons: Toomua (1/2)
Pens: Toomua (2/2)
Drop goals: Toomua (0/1)

Reds 18

tries: Daugunu, Mafi
cons: O’Connor (1/2)
pens: O’Connor (2/3), Hegarty (0/1)

Yellow card: Stewart

  • Ian Rodger

    Couple of questions and observations after this game.
    What happended to the Reds scrum? They seem to get whistled of the park by the ref.
    Line outs are a problem.
    Both teams very clearly didn’t want to take a risk in the extra time. It was pretty much, 1 fase and kick. Not really what we want to see.
    Both 10’s went missing at parts during the game.
    What about that Fa’amausili bloke for the Rebs. He hits like a truck, love it!

    That said, the final try for the reds. Wow that was some offload.

    • Lineouts are still a problem in the SR NZ. I think there are just so many moving parts it takes a long time to get it right, more than we’d ever thought before.

      With Covid, we’ve got players coming in not really fit like they are after a normal off-season because they haven’t had access to the gym and so on, so they’re getting back to fitness, to match fitness and so on. Line out drills have obviously been lacking… and clearly take a lot of time to get right.

    • The Reds scrum was dominant but they pushed before the ball went in. Partly because Louwens was taking an age but that shouldn’t matter.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Referee should have pinged Louwens for delaying the put in

      • Kevino

        Yes, it’s hard to tell if they pushed because they can’t hold the weight or just want to show there dominance.

        Agree it’s frustrating to see a scrum half taking his time and gaining his team advantage.

        I also thought the Reds took for ever to organize a lineout? Is this to make up for the faster set ups and scrum time.

  • Max Graham

    We need new coaching. That was diabolical.

  • In the rain, I thought the passing and most of the catching was pretty good, but retention of the ball in contact was understandably poor. I’m not going to be too critical about that – I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of dropped passes to be honest.

    However, the rest of that game was a bit of a horror show, from all 33 out on the paddock. I thought the two teams conspired together to play a game where no-one really wanted to win. Occasionally some rugby broke out when someone forgot that! And while I try not to be too critical of referees at scrum time because I know they have one view, that’s different to the camera, it’s full speed and no replay, I thought the refereeing of the scrums in particular and the breakdowns to a lesser extent was a disgrace.

    While I’m heaping out opprobrium another dishonourable mention for Kearns. “Great penalty kick,” he says. For one that dribbled in touch (ok, that’s not fair, it sailed majestically in touch) with a magnificent gain of 15 metres, 20 if you’re generous. I quit playing at school after a back injury. When I played, if my 10 kicked the ball that far from the middle of the park, fair effort, and we’d congratulate her. When I say she kicked like a girl, she was – quite literally, I stopped played when I was 15. A top-flight professional kicking like that is not an acceptable effort, unless you’re playing into a howling gale, and the flags and the way the rain was falling didn’t make it look that way.

    It’s not the worst game of rugby I’ve ever seen, but goodness it might have one of the most boring.

    • Keith Butler

      Perfect summary EP. Definately lacklustre from both sides. Some ref decisions a bit of a mystery – on one occasion the only thing Kearns got right. Line out was a complete shambles as well. I think the amount of movement after the call has been made maybe too distracting for some hookers. It was a bit like Come Dancing.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I agree Eloise that was a very boring game of rugby compounded by stupid mistakes and poor decisions. I thought the final 10 minutes were just boring with no thought to what tactics should be used and endless kicks that went nowhere and didn’t seem to make any tactical sense. The refereeing over here is very poor with players coming into the rucks from the side, off their feet and a lot of off side play that is just not being picked up. Overall I give this game a meh!

      • Keith Butler

        It seems pretty clear to me that the Aussie refs are nowhere near as strict as their NZ counterparts. Very disappointing.

        • HK Red

          Thought the referreeing was an absolute shambles, this bloke missed so much for both sides. I actually really like how strict the NZ refs have become.

  • My thoughts.
    I thought the ref was patchy and inconsistent. And it didn’t help things. The Reds scrum went early at least two more times that I saw and there were sealing off rucks everywhere without issue until Stewart was carded for it. Then seconds later it was okay again. I’d love the ruck to be cleaned up like in NZ but it needs a constant hand.
    JOC saved the Reds but his game . management needs so much work. There’s not a ten at the Reds so he’s the man for now. Having said that he was part of every point the Reds scored.
    Why hasn’t there been a wet weather rugby ball invented?
    Hegarty needs to be replaced by CFS if he’s not the goal kicker.
    Meakes is a pest.

    • And super time is a dud!

    • Pedro

      I couldn’t believe JOC went for the penalty goal when they were down by 10 and the ref was a bees dick away from giving the rebels a yellow.

      I doubley can’t believe it payed off.

      • HK Red

        Thought it was a weird call also, can only think they wanted to make sure that they were at least within 7 and then get the ball back and have enough time to give it another crack.

        • Pedro

          Yeah, I get that, but if you’re a few metres out you can get the seven, then a try gets you the win, or kicking a penalty from halfway ties it. Taking the three then scoring a try from halfway seems less likely.

          In those moments I think about what the opposition would want you to do and then do the opposite.

    • idiot savant

      Stewart was carded for slowing the play the ball by rolling a player in a tackle. I don’t ever recall seeing that penalised before let alone carded. Stewart was separately penalised for sealing off.

      You’re right about the ref’s inconsistency. It looked like he checked the penalty count at half time when it was way in favour of the rebels and then decide to swing the other way in the second half. Was that Murphy’s first super rugby game? Pressure might have told.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, honestly what a terrible game and if RA is really keen on fighting the threats from AFL and NRL there was nothing in this game that would give them any hope. Aimless kicking from players who still can’t, very poor ball retention and a referee who was pedantic on some things but let players enter from the side and go off their feet at the rucks and creep up off side all day.
    I didn’t see anything in this game that will help Rennie in his selection s except perhaps write off some players in the position they are playing. Meakes was awful apart from one lucky intercept, Toomua proved that he pushed for that non mark rule because his kicking is so poor, the goal line drop out is a very poor law that doesn’t encourage either the defender or the attacker and just makes the game boring.TBH not impressed at all (as you may have picked up)

  • Happyman

    To be fair it was not a game for the ages.

    My observations were as follows.

    For mine the reds scrum was dominant however the Rebels halfback cleverly delayed his feed to balk the Reds into an early push. Just another example of the players being a step ahead of the Refs.

    Line outs were 5th grade at best from both teams. A combination of Hookers who could not hit the side of a barn with a bag full of beans and inaccurate jumpers. Line outs are not hard throw the ball to where the jumpers are not. Precalling is a blight on the game and should only be used with 50,000 fans at an opposition venue.

    Rebels took all of there chances and the reds missed a few. The Reds only played rugby when they needed to chase the game and then promptly forgot to do so in the super time.

    The new rules are rubbish and should be scrapped. The game is awesome when the current rules are enforced particularly last feet.

  • formerflanker

    An example of the robotic line out systems the Reds run.
    Lineout deep in Rebels territory.
    Pause for injury to be treated, Reds go back 5m into huddle to discuss the call.
    Ref blows whistle to restart – Reds walk in to line of touch and go straight up.
    Ref blows whistle to do it again for some reason.
    Reds forwards have to walk back 5m and walk in again so they can go straight up!
    No new call. No staying with original call from a standing start at line of touch. No ability to adapt, adjust or think quickly.
    I hope that’s not typical of Oz rugby.

  • RedAnt

    Yeah, that was a bit of a dog of a game, wasn’t it. Very surprised you gave JOC MotM though. His game management is poor, out-of-hand kicking poor, passing OK and running very good – a couple of pieces of individual brilliance do not a 5/8 (or MotM) make! Then again, Toomua was also poor, but I felt his game management at least was pretty good. Hardwick and Wells were very good, keeping the QLD back row quiet on a wet night was an achievement.

    • Brumby Runner

      Agree, JOC not a deserving MOTM. The best parts of his game occur when he is running a bit wider. No 12 would suit him and the Reds better. One more thing, although it was reviewed that last pass by JOC to Daugunu (?) in the lead up to the try was definitely forward. JOC was roughly 3m outside the 5m line and Duagunu caught the ball 1m over the 5m line, a whole 4m forward.And no rubbish please about the direction of his hands or forward momentum; neither has been in the referees’ guide book for many years now.

      Hardwick was probably best on ground. Never stopped and put a lot of pressure on Reds ball at the breakdown. Also pulled off some hurtful tackles.

      Rebels desperately unlucky not to win. Put it down fair and square on Matt Toomua’s ill directed and executed kick towards the end that allowed the Reds to score from that possession turnover.

      • Keith Butler

        I agree BR. O’Connor was virtually static when he made the pass, very little momentum. Clearly a forward pass for me.

    • idiot savant

      Yeah, JOC made as many errors as he did good things. Felt familiar for a Reds ten….

  • Keith Butler

    I think I am detecting just a hint of dissatisfaction in last night performance by both players and officials. The only bright spot for me was Koribete. Some great runs and big hits. Must be a shoe in for the G&G. Pity he had to go off and the Reds player is lucky that he didn’t get a red card.

  • Ads

    Be very happy to not see Toomua, DHP or Hodge in gold again too.

    • Kevino

      Watched all the Full backs this weekend, i’d take all of them back at the Rebels ahead of DHP.

      Yes, all the Australian full backs had one thing in common, they all spent time in Melbourne.

      And i’d have kept Jason Woodward ahead of all of them too

      • Mica

        Bryce Hegarty. I’d rather DHP.
        Maddocks and McGregor both better though for at least this weekend……

  • idiot savant

    Ive decided to be positive this week after Reg’s censure about negative comments last week.

    Gee it was nice to get some rain. Been dry lately. Great to see a red head reffing a super game. #gogingas. And dont those Rebels look nice in the blue jerseys. Louwrens is such a pretty boy. Great night out at Brooky. Loving these new rules. Fantastic to have AFL back.

  • Juan_Time

    Does anyone know what has happened to some of the Rebels squad?
    Are they injured, have they gone O/s with Rodda, contract disputes, other?
    In particular I mean Naisarani, Ross H-P, Cottrell, Ruan Smith, Luke Jones, Rangi.
    That said, young guys going okay. Obviously Pone was damaging, but Hosea looks very promising (and locks are in short supply) and Leota will be better when he realises how big he is.

    • Kevino

      Jones has left for France already

      Naisarani has a hamstring injury, rumours is whole season on back next game. So who knows.

      Rangi is injured

      RHP, Smith and Cottrell I am not sure about.

      The other SA lock was looking good before lock down and have heard nothing.

      • Juan_Time

        Thanks Kevino.
        Jones may have received early mail he wasn’t in the mix for wallabies. There is some huge opportunities for locks and/or a line out jumping 6.
        Shame about Isi (if bad injury). Door opens for Samu or Harry Wilson.
        If the others are just not being selected, maybe we need a mid-season draft or loan process to fill gaps in other squads.

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