Reds Finally Win a Close One Over the Blues - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Reds Finally Win a Close One Over the Blues

Reds Finally Win a Close One Over the Blues

We come into this game with both teams in a similar place- not having won for a while (Blues drew last week), and little to play for other than the potential of representative honours for a few. There are some interesting sub-battles at play here, like Samu Kerevi vs Ma’a Nonu, will Kerevi leave and the run on debut of Scott Malolua. With not much more than pride on the line, let’s see how the last home game of the season pans out for the Reds.

 

Higgers in flight- credit Stephen Tremain

Higgers in flight- credit Stephen Tremain

 

THE MATCH

Things didn’t start well for the Reds when Blake Gibson dove over on a pick and drive in simple fashion after Filipo Daugunu got turned the wrong way in a ruck several phases earlier. Early on, you get the sense that both teams are not going to be afraid to throw the ball around and have a go. Taniela Tupou put a foot in touch on a tough chance at the tail end of a great interchange that began in their own half. This is despite the greasy conditions with the dew and a field that looks like it had seen better days with its third game in a week.

As we progressed ill discipline and weight of possession started to tell. JP Smith got a let off when Otere Black kicked a penalty dead in goal, missing touch, but soon after some neat off loading saw Tanielu Telea’a go over on the left. Just when alarm bells might have been ringing a Kerevi half break led to a flick pass from Jock Campbell to Scott Higginbotham who turned back the years to over on the right. Almost immediately though, the Blues hit back with a long range try from a Nonu burst who put Pulu over practically under the posts. With 26 points in 24 minutes (21-5 Blues) this could be anything.

Sustained Reds pressure and many fruitless pick and drive attempts finally led to some space on the left edge and Taniela Tupou is almost unstoppable from short distance and he crashed over, with Hegarty converting. 21-12 after 34 minutes. 15 solid minutes of possession before halftime led to a Hegarty penalty right before the break and we go to the sheds at 21-15 Blues.

The Reds shot out of the gates after halftime with more razzle dazzle passing from Malolua this time releasing McGahan who fed Hegarty who converted his own try, and the Reds were in front. Inevitably in this yo-yo game the Blues scored next, with Pulu diving over with no one in front from about 30cms out, and like that the Blues had the lead again.

After an exchange of penalties and errors the Reds dodged one when what looked like it may have been a Pulu hat trick was denied by the TMO. The question was whether they could capitalise? The Reds still had the possession advantage entering the final quarter of the game but struggled to make an impression unless piggybacked up field by error or penalty. Again the Reds were denied close to the line, multiple phases seeing the Reds driven backwards yet again.

The Reds got increasingly desperate and a energetic Moses Sorovi sparked the Reds late with Duncan Paia’aua also being involved. Old man Higgers again sprung free wide left and was over for his second. Hegarty converted and the Reds were ahead with two to play.

The Blues frantically tried to score and turned the Reds ball over but the Reds turned it back and held on for their first win against a New Zealand side since 2016.

MATCH TURNING POINT

The game was up and down with both sides having the ascendancy at one point. The long lost ability of the Reds to win games late is what actually

The last time at Suncorp for a while?

The last time at Suncorp for a while?

GAGR MOTM

This is my least favourite part of writing, mostly because as a forward I have no idea what a back does and looking pretty doesn’t count for me. Seriously though, Ma’a Nonu was threatening in the few opportunities he had. Overall the Blues were more solid as a team with maybe only Augustine Pulu really standing out.

The Reds were more of a mixed bag. Taniela Tupou was strong but gave away too many penalties again. The forwards all worked hard as a unit. However, my GAGR MoTM goes to Samu Kerevi who terrorised the Blues defence every time he touched the ball and was the spark for anything good the Reds did. With any luck winning my prestigious honour will force him to stay.

WALLABY WATCH

With Tate McDermott out injured and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto being rested, it really fell on Taniela Tupou and Izack Rodda to cement their places and maybe a few others to push for a wildcard in the squad. In that sense, Liam Wright was excellent again as he has been the last month or so. I know there is a log jam at 7 but his aggression on the ball has been exceptional. He had won two penalties by half time and was a constant menace.


STATS

Reds – 29
Tries: Higginbotham 2, Tupou, Hegarty
Conv: Hegarty 3
Penalties: Hegarty 1

Blues – 28
Tries: Gibson, Telea’a, Pulu 2
Conv: Black 4
Penalties:

Cards

Dalton Papali’i saw the cheese in the 67th minute for playing the ball on the ground close to the line after several consecutive penalties against the Blues.

PHOTO GALLERY (Credit Stephen Tremain)

  • HK Red

    Thanks for the write-up Ben, sterling effort to get that out so quickly.
    Listening to Kerevi in that post-match interview, such an amazing, humble bloke. All about the team of men he leads and not about himself.
    Can I just say, why isn’t he Australian captain?
    Jeez, I hope we can retain him, RA should be bending over backwards to ensure he stays in Australia. He is well short of the required 60 caps and will be sorely missed if he heads off to Japan.

    Also, thought the ref was very lenient to wait so long to brandish a card.

    • joy

      Australian captains don’t cry.

      • HK Red

        harsh.
        Anyway, I have no problem that bloke, playing like a warrior, showing emotion for the team he fought with. You missed the point. It wasn’t about him, it was about the team and the group, the coaches, the families, the supporters, he spoke from the heart. He wasn’t reciting “after match bingo”. Something our current captain could learn from.

      • Geoffro

        Tell that to big Kev

  • Cameron Rivett

    Nice job getting the article up in such a timely manner. I think the right call was made with the disallowed try, but it’s a tad inconsistent with the way that such situations are being ruled in general play at the moment. The Reds’ outside backs were seriously woeful with regards to their positional defence, and if the Blues had had some more ball in the second half then the game could easily have slipped away in an instant.

    I’m glad they got the win though, reaching that milestone for Higginbotham as well as finishing their home season off on a high note and sending off their senior players so well.

    • Huw Tindall

      Bang in with the inconsistent ‘tackle’ law. If the hadn’t immediately followed Daugunu’s hit the ref wouldn’t have pulled it back if the rulings this year have been anything to go by. Far too much crawling and getting up and going again for mine. The tacklers are releasing immediately to get back to their feet and reload. Players with the ball shouldn’t be able to take advantage of that.

      • HK Red

        but didn’t we see in this game a lot of instances of tacklers holding on to the player, well after a knee or whole body was on the ground? I felt this ref lost control of the breakdown in this game. He was equal to both sides though, so players at least didn’t get frustrated.

        • Huw Tindall

          Absolutely and that’s the point. If this was a tackle on the halfway the ref would have let it go! Breakdown is always hard to rand I have sympathy for guys and girls doing the job but at the top level you want it fair. My personal bug bears are players not supporting their own weight (all teams), cleaning out past the ruck (classic Kiwi play that), and tip tackle style cleanouts. On that last point just watch how many players end up heads in the dirt because a the player cleaning out has lifted their legs past the horizontal. Kind of an extension of the neck roll sh!t on Poey that the refs decided to ignore.

        • HK Red

          agree with you 100% mate, the interpretation is key, Some ref let it play, some blow it up immediately. There were times I saw Reds players smashing through the ruck/tackle going straight off their feet and it was let go, while I had my arms in the air at the TV. It’s hard, but it’s the game we love. Ha, it’s why these forums flourish.

        • idiot savant

          I have to get on this bandwagon too. The ruck appears to becoming messier and needs tidying up so we can have more time with ball in hand. Last night the blues forwards often made a grab for the ball and then swung their bodies sideways slowing and impeding quick clearances. There was a lot of sprawling. It was so often it had to have been coached. I also think refs are far too liberal in applying the ‘not held’ interpretation. It forces tacklers to hold onto legs for extended periods again slowing up clearances.

        • Cameron Rivett

          Another bug bear is attacking players grabbing defenders outside the ruck or who are trying to leave the ruck by the jersey and holding them in. Usually this also results in the defender striking the offending hand, and then a small scuffle ensues and the referee says “stop it guys” without caring that he created the situation in the first place by failing to penalise the jersey-pulling.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah real niggly sh!t. Straight up ‘professional’ foul stuff not getting your timing wrong at a ruck or an arm slipping up in a tackle.

        • Keith Butler

          Totally agree with all this Huw. Can I also add side entry to the ruck debacle – that also really pisses me off. As for crawling after being tackled. Straight penalty.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    First win against kiwi opposition since 2016! Blimey! Even though it was a mixed bag of a performance, if I was a Reds fan I’d be happy to have that monkey off my back.
    Still a long way to go, all things considered, but a win like that is a big confidence builder for that young outfit. The fact Kerevi was in tears post game says a lot that this win meant something. Well done lads!

    • HK Red

      100% Nick, the tears showed how much this team is coming together. I’ve not at all been a fan of Thorn for the last two seasons and I still think he is seriously lacking. If how can get the right team of assistants around him however, this team can build into something great. QLD cannot afford to lose Kerevi. He is such a talisman, both on and off the field.
      I was also shocked it had been so long since beating a NZ team. Sort of poetic that it was against the Blues. A team that used to be one of the strongest provincial teams globally, from back in the day of Super 6/10. Back when it was Auckland, QLD and Natal ruling the roost. Good times ahead, I hope.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      A very well deserved win and the team is showing some real heart. By hell Australia needs to keep Kerevi

    • Hoss

      Here’s a question without notice Nick. Doesn’t Kerevi have to be signed with an Aus team for next year to qualify for the RWC squad ?? I understand that the case for players wanting back in (Skelton, White etc) but what about those supposedly leaving, the only comparison is Fardy and that ended well ???

      Anyone have any answers ?

      • idiot savant

        There are a few players in that boat. Foley, Kepu, Naivalu, Phipps…

      • Max Graham

        No.
        Played this year or signed for either of the next two years (or has 60+ tests and 7+ super seasons).

        • Hoss

          Cheers Mr Graham.

  • joy

    Great result for the Reds. Imagine how well this team would have performed with homo sapiens in charge. The problem with over reliance on Kerevi is the complete absence of imagination. How good could they be?

  • Bernie Chan

    41 tries to Higgers…the greatest try scoring forward in Super Rugby. I’d have him in our RWC squad, but I’m not Cheika..Hope Higgers tears it up in France! DPA too…
    And if it comes to past that Kerevi is going overseas then RA and the QRU should hang their heads in shame…the best back by a ‘country mile’ in Oz, yet RA hand out the big multi-million dollar contracts to others. Can’t blame the guy for looking after his future and his clan, but what a pity. Kerevi is an adornment to the game…so humble and genuine, and again deflecting credit towards his team mates while thanking the fans.

    • joy

      His clan should be Australia. I don’t buy the teary eyed stuff. He signed so live with it.

      • HK Red

        Not sure he signed with Japan, talk is of the corporate owned team, Suntory. He’s being quite cagey though, so are we sure that he’s gone? I’m hoping there is still time for QLD and RA to change his mind.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        He signed with Japan as he had to look after his and his family’s future, and he kept being offered fairly small, average contracts. And yet over the hill outside backs who cannot pass and kick (Folau) were on $1 million per year.

        • Geoffro

          Quite.The silence has been deafening actually of what the Reds or RA have done to retain his services.Maybe Reds a bit jittery after their Cooper and Hunt contract debacles and who knows what RA may be bracing for with the Rebs going broke and Folau’s multimillion dollar lawsuit.Shame really and I don’t know that a stint in Japan is really going to hone his skills further

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think it will force him to improve his passing game further, which is great. But it’s still a tragic outcome.

        • Bernie Chan

          Wonder how deep is the mire the QRU finds itself…? The attendances at Lang Park games are so low…I think the Brisbane Roar had better attendances?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          absolutely mate. The money given to Hooper and Folau is an absolute waste while the real players like Kerevi miss out. It’s a disgrace

      • Bernie Chan

        IMHO he is allowed to put his family (clan) first.
        No uncommon for guys from the Pacific Islands who ‘make it’ to look after the extended family…

  • joy

    Mr Latham successfully moved that the Legislative Council: “support the basic human right of New South Wales workers to express political, cultural and religious opinions in their private time, away from their place of work, without suffering employment penalties” (The Australian.). What do ya reckon about this?

  • Huw Tindall

    I think we need to keep reminding ourselves how much better the Aus Super Rugby sides are this year. Last year the Tahs finally broke the 2 year hoodoo. This year we are 5 wins v 8 losses so far. Kiwis still on top but a massive turnaround. If our worst performing team is getting hard fought win like today it’s a great sign.

    Kerevi is first picked Wallaby for mine right now. Sorry to see him go but even with Folau dollars we couldn’t keep him. Seems to really need to cash up and help his extended family back on Fiji. Fair play to him and hope we can tempt him back soon.

    Liked the look of new 9 Moulala(?). Some talent coming through to replace Genia.

    Whole Reds pack did well. Rodda walk up start in second row. I fear Tupou is too much of a penalty magnet for a RWC. Kepu to take the 5 prop spot I reckon. Liam Wright has a bright future and Higgers for sent off in style.

    Backs still a bit meh without Kerevi. Some talent and promise but right now they are well behind the other 3 Aus franchises. Can’t question their guys though. Both Daugunu and the other tiny winger pulled off some crucial tackles on big men.

    We’ll done Reds and hope they bring surprise in the final game next week!

    • sambo6

      genuine question…not meant to be a pop at thorn and the coaching team necessarily (theres plenty more I can rage at them about!) …but is tupou getting the right guidance/development? last year it seemed like he could possibly be the best 3 in the world – was in the super rugby team of the season for example. now he might not even make the WC squad. Or perhaps its just second year syndrome…?

      • Huw Tindall

        Probably a bit of all that. Reds scrum isn’t as good as last year but that won’t be Tupou’s fault alone. IIRC Rugby Reg mentioned here or on twitter that Tupou came back from the break very out of shape and got beasted by the S&C staff leading to a skin start to the season but with expectation he’d come good later on. I thank you can see this. He’s having impact now in scrums and ball in hand. Put the penalties down to youth – exuberance and lack of game smarts. He is still bloody young and could finish as a great with the likes of Richard Harry, Dan Crowley and even elder statesman Kepu.

      • Geoffro

        He’s probably not getting a lot of guidance off Brad in the discipline department.Thorn was as adept at breaking the law and getting himself penalised as anyone.

    • HK Red

      “Sorry to see him go but even with Folau dollars we couldn’t keep him.”
      Genuine question, do we know anything like that was ever even offered to him?

      • Huw Tindall

        Good question HK Red. I don’t know but honestly it’s not until this year where Kerevi has well and truly lived up to his potential. He would have been in every Wallaby game last year if he didn’t get injured which would have increased his stocks, assuming he played well. I guess when it came time for his contract renewal this year there was only so much to go on. Petaia and 7As got long term contracts so surprised Kerevi wasn’t in that position as well. For all we know they did chuck big $$ at him but just couldn’t be matched in Japan. We have to accept there is only so much money RA has to spend. Given previous stories about Chek seeing Kerevi as a massive part of the Wallabies going forward (both as a leader on and off the field) I would be surprised if they didn’t do all they could to keep him.

        • HK Red

          I hear ya, I hope that’s true. But usually these sorts of dealings leak like a sieve. It’s amazing how tight lipped this whole situation has been. If he chooses to go, i don’t blame him to chase the $ while he can, because at the end of the day these guys are professionals and have a short time line to secure their retirement, which can be destroyed at any time by a career ending injury.

        • HK Red

          Also, spot on that you bring up Petaia. Would have been a really interesting year to have him and Kerevi at full flight for the season. And would have increased the stocks of both, undeniably.

        • idiot savant

          Its rumoured that he signed in January. Back then he was, as you indicate, a fringe player for the Wallabies and probably thinking Beale would be playing 12 and he would be struggling to start over TK. Also he had to threaten to leave the previous year to get a raise in salary so the Wallaby top up must have been smaller than other players. I dont think Cheik put his money where his mouth was.

      • Geoffro

        Good question,but he should be.Isn’t Foley pissing off too-I seem to recall he was on big bucks also or is all of RA’s spare cash going to be thrown at the Rebels now ?

    • idiot savant

      Good point about the improvement against kiwi sides. Every team has won at least one. The Reds lost by a bee’s dick to both the Highlanders and the Chiefs and only went down to the Crusaders by 10 points. I think the style of game the Reds play is well matched to kiwi sides. Kiwis love grinding forward encounters and the Reds are up for that. They struggle against rapid side to side ball movement which is where the Tahs and the Rebels beat them and where the Blues hurt them last night.

    • “how much better the Aus Super Rugby sides are.”
      Positive thinking eh?

  • sambo6

    Much as I like Liam Wright. And this will sound harsh…but is he a poor man’s Liam Fucking Gill?

    meaning cheika will never pick him anyway.

    • HK Red

      Sad, but so true

    • Geoffro

      He’s young (so is Gill relatively) so both probably plenty to offer post Cheika.

  • joy

    Joyce rules the world:

    From “the Australian today:

    One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham has accused Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and other corporate sponsors of Rugby Australia of forcing Israel Folau’s sacking in comments under parliamentary privilege this morning.

    Mr Latham says that Qantas’s views on Mr Folau’s comments on homosexuals going to hell on a social media post resulted in Rugby Australia fearing lost sponsorship revenue and forcing Mr Folau’s departure.

    He read from a witness statement by Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle from the Folau hearing which mentioned her concern at losing Qantas’s sponsorship because of Mr Folau’s comment
    Contacted by The Australian today, Qantas declined to make further comment beyond Mr Joyce’s statement last month, when he said: “We don’t sponsor something to get involved in controversy. That’s not part of the deal. We expect our partners to take the appropriate action. It’s their issue, they have to deal with it.”

    Quoting Ms Castle this morning, Mr Latham said: “I calculated … at least $10 million of annual sponsorship revenue … was at significantly greater risk as a result of Mr Folau’s conduct.”

    Mr Latham added: “The head of Rugby Australia is putting a commercial value on the religious freedom of Israel Folau.

    “That just shows the fix was in. Qantas knew Folau was going to get punted.

    “Ms Castle was acting as the slave of [Alan] Joyce within her organisation

    “She knew what he wanted without even a direct conversation with him.”

    Mr Latham said: “75 years ago today young men from across the free world stormed the beaches of Normandy … to fight for the freedom of all mankind”.

    “How in 2019 are so many Australians worried about the loss of religious freedom?” Mr Latham said.

    “How in 2019 do we look at Israel Folau and wonder how a football player and resident of NSW has lost his job?

    “We’re fighting dictatorial corporations who purchase … control of sporting codes.

    “These big corporate chiefs preach diversity . . but they’re trying to impose uniformity.”

    Mr Latham quoted Ms Castle’s written evidence which said days before Folau’s post Rugby Australia had commenced commercial negotiations with Qantas on further sponsorship.”

    She said corporate partners including Qantas had approached her at a meeting to “express their concerns”.

    Mr Latham rose later and said “There’s no doubt Israel Folau was sacked by Qantas.”

    He asked Labor members of the Legislative Council whether they wanted to support Qantas, or the worker in Israel Folau.

    Mr Latham said it was outrageous Mr Folau had been sacked for comments he made well away from his workplace and it was not like he had made them in a post-match interview.

    Mr Latham successfully moved that the Legislative Council: “support the basic human right of New South Wales workers to express political, cultural and religious opinions in their private time, away from their place of work, without suffering employment penalties”, but Labor defeated other aspects of his motion criticising Rugby Australia’s actions towards Mr Folau.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Give it a rest please.

    • Keith Butler

      And this has exactly what to do with the Reds v Blues game. Jog off.

  • Mart

    Rodda has been talked up a bit of late. I was thinking I’m not seeing this…is it me?!?

    It was definitely me. The guy is a beast. Massive work rate and dominant in many contacts.

  • HJ Nelson
  • idiot savant

    Congrats to the Reds boys for finally getting some pay for their efforts. They were due for the bounce of the ball to go their way. I thought McGahan was ordinary early and kicked the ball away when they were only at about half way which led to the first try against them. I prefer Hegarty at 10. McGahan’s first instinct is to kick and I wondered if someone had a word at half time because he passed more in the second half.

    The Reds could have won a few more this season if they hadn’t kept doubling down on the forwards led option when deep in their opponents half and on repeat penalty advantage. Their maul was dismantled last week yet they kept going to it. Their scrum was beaten a few weeks back and they kept going to it. And there was the game against the Sunwolves where the Moondogs were down a winger and they kept opting for a scrum. All these choices were losing choices. Not sure if thats a lack of on field leadership, or blind following of coaches instructions, or a delusional belief in the dominance of their pack. But it is one dimensional and predictable. They nearly blew it again last night and it was the ball playing ability of their backs which sneaked the win. Duncan PA made a real difference in the last 20 minutes. Lets hope they develop a better all court game and trust their backs more next year, if only to keep the opponents guessing.

    They are also developing some depth. They won without McDermott and appear to have 3 good halfbacks now.

  • numpty

    Hegarty played well – would like to see him run it more from the back.
    New 9 was good but needed to snipe more, he looked dangerous when he did it, setup a try from it at one point.
    Reds still too one dimensional, with so much ball running ability at 11 and 14, they need to get it there more often.
    Rodda = beast.
    Thor was rocks and diamonds.
    I like Mafi’s wrap around lineout moves, didn’t quite pay off tonight but I like the variation.
    Kerevi looked a class above Nonu, stepping over him a few times early on in the game. You could see Nonu was pissed when Kerevi offered to help him off the ground and Nonu acted like a petulent child.

Queensland Reds
@Ben_Marczyk

Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

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