Reds escape another embarrassing loss to the Sunwolves - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Reds escape another embarrassing loss to the Sunwolves

Reds escape another embarrassing loss to the Sunwolves

The Reds escaped the embarrassment of two away losses to the Sunwolves when they won 34-31 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium with their first win of the 2019 season. 63% of the possession, 58% of the time spent in the opposition half and 3 points the difference at the end of the 80 minutes. Fans will take the win, but it certainly isn’t the shiny new guard we had been promised.

Brad Thorn was clearly taking the points, seeing his relieved smile in the coaches box at the end of the match, but the Sunwolves will be rueing the loss after such a dominant first half.

First Half Moment

The standout first half moment, for mine, was a series of moments – the Sunwolves defence in the first half was really quite impressive – they kept us in our own half for most of the time. The Reds were rushed and flat in attack, and in fact, mostly went backwards against the Sunwolves defence.

Second Half Moment

The Reds turnaround, led by the bench, to arrest the 21-5 deficit from half time is the second half moment. Brendan Paenga-Amosa’s two tries contributed massively to this, as did his steady hand in the lineout. 3 tries in 7 minutes were the difference in the end as the Sunwolves faded.

5 Talking points

1. Tate McDermott should start for the Reds

Moses Sorovi did not set the world on fire and his service was slow and mostly one-out, which wasn’t a challenge for the very solid defence of the Sunwolves. The Reds have a lot of not-old players (see, we too can avoid using the ‘young’ word, Thorn), so some of our issues came against a wiser, imported Sunwolves team. But once McDermott was on, we started to show some life and push through the advantage line. It’s not the first time this season McDermott has shone from the bench and he should start over Sorovi.

2. Sunwolves should be in the competition

So we know the Sunwolves are fighting for their lives/place in the competition (particularly after their heartfelt tweet from Wednesday) and while they lost, and have a mass of imported players, I think rugby should be expanding, not contracting and with the right coach and a few more wins, they will become a solid story. They definitely belong in the competition.

3. Charterboat? What charterboat?

Mother of bleeps. If you missed the best example of the disarray of the Reds today, let me recap.

  1. Lucas and CFS standing back for the restart.
  2. 0 communication.
  3. Collision.
  4. Knock on 15 metres out.
  5. Sunwolves score.
  6. WTAF.

This is rookie stuff, and seeing stuff like this happens concerns me that we have the requisite number of players out there, but no team.

4. You get the team you buy and build

So this may be a little extreme for Round 5 and 4 matches in for the Reds, but I still can’t see the rhyme or reason behind 12-year-olds taking the field when there have always been other options out there. In 2018, the decision was made to exclude players for reasons never explained, create a culture that meant players made incredibly poor decisions in an environment that should have supported them, start the juniors instead of the seniors, play people out of position, change the starting line up frequently and keep everyone on their toes.

I believe fervently in the data that smarter people than me provide (hello, Ben Darwin) and this shit is never going to cut it to build coherence and consistency.

This isn’t an accident we have a team of babies – this was the design and I don’t understand why. If you can’t bring experienced men along the journey with you, the issue is you, not them. This is the team deliberately bought and built – and it’s 7 from 20.

Word on the street was that the appointment in 2017 was contingent on getting rid of QC. (Because who cares if we make a loss right guys, right? We have principles. And you are not our pal.)

And additional word is the exodus coming at the end of 2019, not entirely attributable to the RWC. 10 year dynasty cannot be built sustainably on a poor culture.

5. What to do with Stewart?

Stewart’s kicking game is solid. Whatever Thorn wants from a 10 though, it appears that Stewart can’t deliver this, although I thought he did deliver in 2018.

So what to do with Stewart?


The Game Changer

Brendan Paenga-Amosa’s second try, because who doesn’t love a hooker getting a pie? Or two?

The G&GR MOTM

Damon Murphy had a great match as referee – communicating but allowing a flowing match. Nah, seriously, it was probably McDermott for his service, leadership and his try in the second half to seal the deal for the first win of the season. 

Wallaby watch

Other than expecting further Wallaby call-ups for BPA, Harry Hoopert looks to be heading in the direction of the Wallabies with a very mature performance. If this wasn’t a RWC year, I would expect him to be around the setup.


The Details

Score & Scorers

Moondogs 31
Tries: Booth, Warren-Vosayaco, Pryor, Uchida
Conversions: Parker 4
Penalties: Parker 1
Reds 34
Tries: Wright, Paenga-Amosa 2, Hoopert, McDermott
Conversions: Stewart 3
Penalties: Stewart 1

Cards & citings

None

  • Hoss

    Bit harsh on the headline KE. The Moon doggies are playing some good ball and their D in the first half was brutal. The Reds looked better when they kept it simple in the second half also their bench was terrific and the more touches Stewart had in the second the better they looked. Lucas was abismal at 10. It’s strange for an attack Jim Mackay coaches that 10 is a dogs-breakfast, or better still, they don’t know who their 10 is.

    • Adrian

      Hegarty is easily the best Qld 10

      • Brumby Runner

        And even he fails to have an impact at 10. This is the Reds major problem.

  • Good I was still disheartened 50 minutes in then someone flipped a switch and bang! Hamish Stewart was pretty impressive playing some kind of fullback outside centre flyhalf hybrid thingy.

    • dru

      Think you have Stewart’s role down pat. The art now is how to use it – it was good.

    • GO THE Q REDS

      Yes but watch it again. Others around him didn’t know where to move. Numerous occasions I saw players do double takes and then change direction to take field position. There’s no way in hell that will happen again. That’s just an embarrassing game plan that got away from the whole team with no clear direct leadership for the backs.. …

  • Hoss

    Just an aside – anybody else catch Marto & Kearnsy’s discussion post game about Cheika? Wow – actual insight and finally, people prepared to say it like it is. Nick Mc Cardle was absolutely squirming in his seat and couldn’t end the segment quick enough.

    As Tracy Chapman said ‘don’t you know, there talkin bout a revolution’’

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yeah I saw that.
      Marto was talking about all the coaching staff inthe Wallabies being Yes men and just agreeing with what cheika said.
      Then Kearnsy stepped in and basically said no one else was allowed an opionion. They werent consulted and their opinons didnt count. Or Words to the effect.
      Apparently now the emporer has no clothes!

      • Adrian

        Interesting all right.

        Out of about 50 games, and with the exception of the WC and about 5 other games, the tactics didn’t match the team.

        That is about 20% of the time.
        Something is wrong for this to happen.

        I think that the tactics were the main issue, and that 80% of the time the “tactic” of “pass the parcel” behind the advantage line was used,… irrespective of the team.

        • Brumby Runner

          The tactics were wrong most of the time, but equally so the selections. Cheika really has been the worst thing ever to be associated with the Wallabies.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think it was a combination of bad tactics, bad execution, and bad selection.

        • Huw Tindall

          So if I’m reading you right you’re saying it’s bad coaching?

      • Adrian

        Thanks Hoss and BL

  • Adrian

    I enjoyed the game, and the little argument between Lucas and Stewart.

    Duaganu and Lukhan S-Loto best for mine, but great Higgenbotham tackle

    • Brisneyland Local

      I was a bit worried about the higgers tackle because for the first part of it, one of his arms had him clearly around the neck.

      • nmpcart

        Agree – when I saw the replay it was clearly high, coming from above the shoulder. I thought it could have been a penalty and therefore penalty try as the player would have scored if he hadn’t made that tackle.

        • Adrian

          Lucky his arm wasn’t swinging I thought at the time

        • Brisneyland Local

          That was my concern too!

  • Adrian

    Qld backs should be:
    9: Sorevi or McDermott
    10. Hegarty
    11. Duaganu
    12. Kerevi
    13. Chris whateverhisnameis
    14. Naivalu
    15. Stewart
    Bench: Sorevi or McDermott, Lucas, Duncan P

    • 9. McDermott
      10. Hegarty
      11. Duaganu
      12. Kerevi
      13. Stewart
      14. CFS
      15. Lucas

      • Adrian

        Yes, Sully, don’t mind that, and yes, Stewart wider might work

      • Singapore Sling

        I think if Stewart’s not 10 he’s on the bench. He’s not fast enough for 13 or 15. Sefa to 13.

        • dru

          No. At the moment Stewart is our Hodge. Don’t no where to put him but he’s starting. Likely playing 80 and not necessarily finishing where he starts.

      • Jason

        Why Stewart at 13?

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Tell me WHY is everyone trying to squeeze Hamish Stewart in the team in the 1st place. He has never ever shown the consistent ability that demands selection, that demands to be on the field at all costs.. .. .like a Beale or James O’Connor of yesteryear as egs…….. Even young Lucas is CLEARLY not ready to start at Super lvl. Certainly not ready to be shipped all over the field every week with new combos and positional play to learn. What a joke of the rugby world the Reds backs are these days!

        • Seagull

          What I have been wondering is where is Matt McGahan (recruited Japanese rugby and had played for Blues)? The kiwi that was signed in December as a 1st5? He must be injured if he hasn’t even been brought into the equation….Reds squad page doesn’t give much away

        • RugbyReg

          had a broken leg on arrival

        • Jason

          Um, because we aren’t in a position (with good reason) where we have a heap of established talent who are more than capable of playing Super Rugby, if not Stewart or Lucas then who?

          Stewart hasn’t exactly been bad, and if you look at him playing in NRC and/or U20’s he’s been very very good, he is clearly still learning how to play Super Rugby. Give the lad some time. I remember in 2007 a young Quade Cooper and Will Genia being absolutely abysmal at times, the Reds were literally the worst team in the comp if I remember correctly. But they were given time to develop and grow, eventually we came to 2011 would you swap a few years of being bad now for a title?
          Perhaps only the New Zealand teams have enough depth to not pick guys who aren’t clearly demanding selection.

          Lucas had a blinding run the week before, so deserved a run; Stewart has been very good at NRC and is probably our first best option at the moment. So if you think we shouldn’t play Stewart or Lucas then who?

      • idiot savant

        9. Sorovi
        10. Hegarty
        11. Naivalu
        12. Stewart
        13. Kerevi
        14. Daugunu
        15. Lucas
        Bench: McDermott, CFS, Duncan P.
        Id swap CFS for Naivalu if he stops kicking the ball infield.

        • Gipetto

          Naivalu is a dud..compared to CFS

    • Jason

      Stewart is not a 15, I’d almost like to see Stewart tried at 12 because he can actually run the ball really well, and he’s already one of the best defencive 10’s in World Rugby (not as if that’s hard). It’s a shame Stewart doesn’t have a little more size or pace he’d be a brilliant Hodge type ‘Mr Fixit’ slotting in all over the backline if he was a little quicker or a little bigger, perhaps that’ll come.

      • idiot savant

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play 12 next week with Lucas and Hegarty at 10 and 15. Stewart played 12 in Suva against the Drua and was very tough and important in QC winning that game. He is a similar type to Lynagh who also played 12 with distinction.

  • Greg

    Were they supporting him picking the whole wallabies squad form the Warratahs?

  • Brisneyland Local

    See my response to Hoss.

  • Hoss

    Marto – about Cheika and Wallabies
    – expects new wallaby squad
    – Cheika surrounded by yes man
    – last two years has been awful
    – Actually said there had been times Cheika had picked a team and announced it only to change it next morning without telling assistant coaches
    – Kearns actually interjected and said there not yes men when they get no vote.
    – Kearns supported a panel of selectors
    – Marto finished by saying that the Tah’s form surely meant new selectors must pick a new and that meant the wallabies game must change

    The whole time MCCardle looked like he was going to faint and tried to end it, but Marto kept going and with some invection I might add.

    Refreshing.

    • Adrian

      Thanks Hoss & BL

    • Adrian

      I for one am certainly expecting big changes.

      From what I hear, Johnson and O’Connor are certainly not “yes men” and whilst Johnson is seriously weird himself, it is a different sort of weird to Cheika

    • Singapore Sling

      Who the fuck is Nick McCardle anyway? I’ve never heard his name prior to watching fox?

      • Hoss

        I looked it up, MC Cardle is Scottish for ‘beige and compliant’.

        • Singapore Sling

          He looks and acts like the Muppet Beaker.

        • Bixbyvegas

          Hold on mate. McArdle is a hero. Half time at salta. He said on air “well, how do you polish that turd” and then in the week that followed was off air and off his podcast for the rest of the year. I was watching a NRC match here in the states…. we don’t get the ads on ESPN and caught a hot mic before the start where hoiles and another commentator revealed cheika had McArdle yanked from air and he was in deep shit over the comment. Maybe that’s why he went pale last night.

        • Hoss

          I had forgot Salta and didn’t know about the hot mic. Happy to be corrected. One can’t blame him then for being uncomfortable and protecting his employment.

          Greg Growden also published a piece last week pertaining to have snippets of Cheikas job description and RA’s ‘monitoring’ of all his communication. The pieces really are starting to fit – it would appear he has been nothing short of a dictator during his reign and not a benevolent one.

        • Bixbyvegas

          Cheers. No worries. Growden illuded to McArdle a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the second part of the hot mic that mentions McArdle. It’s hoiles and Swain chatting. McArdle getting suspended was kept very bloody quiet it seems.

          https://streamable.com/ntxdl

        • Hoss

          Wow – thanks mate. That’s a REAL insight into the Segall grey matter. Honestly what coach around the world gives a tinkers-cuss about what a studio host says mid-game during probably the worst 40 minutes in the history of the Wallabies ??? Wouldn’t you have bigger dish to fry !

          I hang onto being a Segall fan until mid season last year.

          The guy is a boil on the backside of Aussie rugby – he must be lances and soon.

        • Bixbyvegas

          And the video will disappear with a copyright claim in about a week. Previous ones have. Meanwhile I can find highlights of matches going back years on streamable.

        • I Should be Coach

          Oh boy. You brought the hot mic in the US up. Shit, I sense a royal commission.

    • Ed

      Thanks Hoss.
      It would be great if someone recorded it and upload it to UToobe.

  • idiot savant

    Stewart saved Thorn from severe scrutiny. There is an irony there. Thorn and McKay have given him the bums rush this season. But he looked the best back out there, particularly under pressure. Its utterly bizarre the way the best out of hand kicker in the side wasn’t kicking for touch or exiting in the first half. Whose decision was it to allow Naivalu to kick for touch?

    Very lucky win to the Reds. If the Wolves had maintained their first half form it would have been a massacre but they ran out of gas. But then again it is hard to play express pace offload rugby for 80 minutes. The only impressive thing about this Reds side is that they stay in it, as they have in all their matches this season. This time they were able to squeak over the line as a result. But its a close run thing. They could have been 4 zip, or they could have been 3-1. So hats off to Ryan for the defensive improvement.

    The Reds are still slow and have poor attacking breakdown skills. They cant win fast ball until the opposition tires. They are also not the sharpest tools in the shed. So many bizarre coaching decisions. Stewart not allowed to kick. Mafi starting (wtf). Lucas at 10 over Stewart.

  • dru

    Kate “You get the team you buy and build”. I wish, but we didn’t actually get the team we bought. Rebels, Brumbies, and Waratahs picked the eyes from what we bought. We got the team that Brad built.

  • Jason

    I didn’t think Sorovi was bad, I thought the Sunwolves were doing a lot in that first half to slow the Reds ball so he couldn’t do as much. There is something about Sorovi – his voice on the field (that you can hear no matter where you’re watching from), that energy that he brings to the team. I don’t think we should run away from Sorovi just yet, but I think having a spark plug on the bench (like McDermott) isn’t going to be a bad idea.

    • idiot savant

      I agree with this. The first 30 minutes are always the hardest. The intensity is at the highest, the ruck interference at its best, the line speed at its best and so on. By all means swap them around but I think you’ll find McDermott wont dominate like he does late in the game. The key in the softening up period is to stay in the game which is one of the few things the Reds have done right this season.

      • Jason

        I just think you can’t replace that energy Sorovi brings to the game, he does what every good halfback should do but too few do do — barking at the forward pack!

  • Brumby Runner

    Congratulations to the Reds. Not easdy coming back against a good lead to the Sunwolves. And as I mentioned elsewhere, it’s good to see another Aussie side get the win. But I do question the tries awarded to BPA. Both from rucks on the tryline. I can’t be certain but it looked very much to me that he might have picked the ball up while still attached to the ruck. Anyone have any views?

    • GO THE Q REDS

      Doesn’t he just have to be behind the ball. … then he’s allowed to pick it up? Because he was behind and reached forward for the ball. …

      • Huw Tindall

        Yeah he is just essentially the half back in these situations. Just because the actual 9 is hanging around behind him doesn’t disqualify him from taking it from the back of the ruck.

      • Brumby Runner

        But he must be disengaged from the ruck or otherwise he is picking the ball up in the ruck, which is a no-no.

        I wasn’t sure if he was disengaged at either of the rucks as the action happened so quickly, hence I asked the question.

  • Cameron Rivett

    Agree strongly with McDermott, Sorovi isn’t in form right now and a strong scrumhalf really lifts the Reds due to their flyhalf deficiencies and their strength in their forward pack causing big unwieldy guys who are easily slipped past by astute scrumhalves to lurk near around the fringes of rucks.

  • John Tynan

    The Crusaders production line started most of their eventual 10’s in 12 for a large part of my rugby watching. Seems like 15 is the new flavour, but it’s not a new concept.

  • Seagull

    Harry Hoopert isn’t huge by any stretch but he reminds me of Slipper and eventually a Greg Holmes, where his size doesn’t undermine his technique.
    Thank bloody god someone figured out that you need to run a support line behind the best tackle bust machine (Kerevi) and there will be easy pickings for tries and/or support play to make metres up the middle!!!!
    I can only hope we can have the likes of Daugunu running off Kerevi’s hip…

  • Gipetto

    Can anyone explain why Caleb Timu is not getting game time- He is a fantastic player – best in the NRC.

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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