Reds Home Opener- Will the Optimism Continue? - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Reds Home Opener- Will the Optimism Continue?

Reds Home Opener- Will the Optimism Continue?
The Reds struggled to generate much all game. Credit Stephen Tremain

The Reds struggled to generate much all game. Credit Stephen Tremain

After a near miss against the Highlanders over in the Shed last week, the Reds fronted to their first home game of 2019 with proclamations of not letting the close games slip and making the moments count. Let’s see how they fared against a Crusaders side that has been riding high on a 17-match win streak Both sides were 1-23 as per program

With the Crusaders in an unfamiliar all white strip to counter the now permanent maroon kit, we kicked off on a night of high expectation from a good sized crowd. The Reds were showing a willingness to try things early, with Hegarty in at 10 and Hamish Stewart in the centres from one scrum for example. Good hard running and an emphasis on the chase after the kick was also evident.

Some pressure from a penalty led to typical Crusaders play, attacking one way, and leaving the Reds short on the right. A neat left footed kick-pass from Jack Goodhue led to Brayden Ennor having all sorts of time on the right wing to dot down in the corner.

Almost straight from the kick off the Crusaders then scored one of the best tries in the young season. A number of missed tackles saw Will Jordan bust the line and while being chased down by Hegarty off loaded to Ennor. Jordan then backed up and got the ball back on the inside and after Mounga missed again it was 10-0 after nine minutes. Could the Reds settle down and pressure a team that clearly was playing with no fear?

The Crusaders were running the ball the same way the Reds did last week- making metres after contact. They were also more aggressive at the breakdown, causing turnovers and generally making life difficult for the Reds in all facets of the game. Ten minutes before half time, and the Reds had yet to come close to even look like troubling the scorer. That changed just before the break when they backed themselves off a penalty. After many phases of forward work, and a massive hole to the left, it was swung right and captain Kerevi dived over. Hegarty converted and going into the break and thanking their lucky stars to only be down 10-7.

The Crusaders dominated the set piece and most other elements of the game. Credit Stephen Tremain

The Crusaders dominated the set piece and most other elements of the game. Credit Stephen Tremain

 

The second half started in a similar vein, the Crusaders put together 22 phases before earning a penalty. From the ensuing line out, a well worked lineout saw Whetu Douglas barge over. Mounga found his radar and it was 17-7.  A Salakaia-Loto yellow card and a weakened scrum led to another penalty and again the Crusaders scored, this time through Jordan Taufua. 22-7 Crusaders and things were looking very grim indeed.

As the game meandered towards a conclusion, some interest was generated when it appeared Liam Wright went over. Many replays later, it was determined JP Smith held back a defender and the previously given try was disallowed and the crowd was not best pleased. It looked like Bryn Hall milked it.  Scott Higginbotham scored in the 75th minute to at least make it interesting. The last ten minutes were perhaps the best the Reds played all game, running with intent and making inroads. Young Isaac Lucas really stood out in this period, having replaced Hamish Stewart after 64 minutes.

After a frantic closing stage, it ended 22-12 to the Crusaders. Really it was deceptive though, the Reds never looked like winning or threatening this winning streak that now totals 18.

Like Rugby Reg, I had drunk the Kool-Aid and thought we might sneak this one. But we were never in it, against what was to be fair a top class Crusaders team. They are clearly the benchmark of the competition and some lessons will certainly have been learned. They need to learn those lessons before next week against the Waratahs in Sydney.

MATCH TURNING POINT
The Reds were on the back foot after those first ten minutes and spent much of the first half holding on by a thread. Despite the half time scoreline, the Reds weren’t in the game.

GAGR MOTM
I fear sometimes that the dark arts of the front row don’t get enough credit- but tonight the MOTM goes to Joe Moody, who gave Taniela Tupou all he could handle and more. The usual dominance of the Reds pack at the scrum was not only neutralised but put under pressure and forced to concede penalties on a number of occasions.

WALLABY WATCH
Losing Jordan Petaia to a foot injury after 15 minutes wasn’t a good sign, and neither was the misfiring first half scrum. This limited the ability for the Reds to go to their stock and trade. All the standouts from last week were quiet, Rodda, Tupou, Naivalu all worked hard but were struggling to cope with the amount of defending they were being asked to do. The now eligible Smith brothers brought some starch to the scrum once they came on, and one expects JP to slot back in at starting loosehead sooner rather than later.

STATS

Reds 12

Tries: Kerevi, Higginbotham

Conv: Hegarty 1/2

Penalties:

Discipline: Salakaia-Loto- Yellow 53 minutes

Crusaders 22

Tries: Ennor, Jordan, Douglas, Taufua

Conv: Mounga, 1/4

Penalties:

 

Crowd: 17,676

  • Larry Jorgensen

    Hegarty being interviewed at full time listed as 10.

    What position was Stewart playing?

    • No one really knows!

      • Bernie Chan

        That’s part of the problem isn’t it…we lack a ‘conductor’. Watched form about the 15th minute…Stewart was almost anonymous.
        Kerevi is a very damaging ball runner, but it appears the Reds only have that one plan…”give it to Samu…”.
        Higgers had a welcome cameo, and the combined subs with the Smith brothers added stability to the scrum.

      • Huw Tindall

        Last week i was thinking he is only 10 for defense and then it’s Hegarty for pretty much everything else. Strange set up.

        • Bernie Chan

          Surely DPA has to start…? I know he isn’t part of the ‘choir’, but he must be one out best XV…and a ball playing 10/12.

        • Huw Tindall

          Didn’t he say he doesn’t want to play 10?

        • Bernie Chan

          After no shortage of hiccups, he probably isn’t ‘ready’ to play #10…but I think he is a better #10 than Stewart at this point. He’ll take the ball to the line and can offload a pass. Kerevi would create more havoc with a flyhalf that posed more questions of the defence.
          The BT scheme is reminiscent of the Cheika scheme…pick players and shuffle them around. If Hegs is picked at fullback then we need a flyhalf….if Hegs is picked at flyhalf then we need a fullback.
          As another fan observed…the rugby was kind of clueless.

        • joy

          Another victom of Thorne monoculture?

        • Bernie Chan

          I suspect so…and it’s a pity we have senior coaches who have this attitude towards ‘man management’…

        • Adrian

          I thought Hegarty was mostly good, and was pressured a lot.

          I think Stewart was talked up too young. He is a great tackler and long kicker, but is really a converted 7.

          I’d try him at 7 actually

        • Huw Tindall

          Did he play 7 on school boys or something? Certainly got something bulk.

        • Adrian

          Apparently he was, and a very good one

        • Who?

          At TGS…

        • Mica

          And weirdly Hegarty takes the kicks for line when Stewart has a much stronger boot.
          It’s like the Wallaby strategy of ignoring Hodge and giving it to Foley for touch finders.
          I find this mind blowing as it is a concept that my kids get, yet somehow head coaches don’t seem to do it.

    • joy

      Thorne dumped Cooper who was
      playing fly half in attack and wing in defence and replaced him with Stewart who plays fullback in attack and fly half in defence. He’s basically swapped Cooper for Hegarty, a huge mistake.

  • Who?

    Great effort, but so simple, so often so very dumb… The Reds competed hard, but that game plan’s not going to threaten the good teams.
    And why would you sub off Stewart when you’ve got a bloke out there with a popped rib?!?!
    Crusaders should’ve had more on the Reds, but they kept throwing the ball over the sideline!
    Great acting by Hall to sell the obstruction to overrule Wright’s try. If the Crusaders had scored that, it wouldn’t ever have been sent upstairs… No way that JP had any impact there, and he was at the front of the breakdown, not beyond it. And great acting from him to throw the ball at LSL/FKA (Formerly Known As) – there wasn’t a Crusader who was ever going to catch that ball, and FKA was doing his best to get back onside, without looking at Hall throwing the ball to him. It’s the sort of play that should see the half binned. When a Crusader prevented McDermott from throwing a quick clearance off a breakout at 76 minutes, there was no warning or penalty advantage called. But the Saffa ref was drinking the Crusaders’ kool aid (that they’re choirboys), when they clearly don’t need any help. They would’ve won regardless of his assistance, but they definitely got the rub of the green.

    • Keith Butler

      Can’t really complain about the result as the Reds were a bit headless. However, totally agree about Hall. Milked the penalty that had the try disallowed and as for throwing the ball at the retreating Brumbies player that to me just stinks. That sort of play needs penalising. Being an ex lock who has observed some of the dark arts of front row play close up can someone please explain how Moody can drop to both knees when the pressure comes on and Tupou gets penalised and then in another incidence loses his bind and move his arm down onto Tupou’s leg and yet wins another penalty.

      • Human

        I agree re the halfback…cyclical play. Kiwi sides do it a lot, have also seen Phipps do it. Send them off for bringing the game into disrepute.

        • Keith Butler

          I recall seeing a game once where Clive Owen was reffing. SH throws pass at retreating opposition player and Owen waives play on. Next breakdown is speaks to SH saying “no need for that plenty of room to make pass”. Good reffing in my book.

        • nmpcart

          Gregan was a master at milking this sort of thing so don’t blame Kiwis entirely. Bottom line is Lukhan shouldn’t have been there.

        • laurence king

          lol, Gregan being an Aussie would not have been cheating in those instances, the NZs on the other hand, being NZs were of course deliberately obstructing play.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Gold

        • Who?

          Gregan was one of the first to initiate it, but we’ve seen refs set precedent since then. We’ve seen that it’s not the best for our sport, and efforts have been made to move on. In the same way we can’t judge tackle techniques from the 90’s on today’s laws, because quite a few ‘good hard tackles’ from back then would now be YC’s.
          I’d have no issue with the penalty to Hall if it looked like FKA was actually impeding a pass being made, but it wasn’t clear that Hall would’ve been within a barn door of Crusaders ball carrier if FKA hadn’t been there. That’s my issue – that it appeared to be directly milking a penalty, not that the runner was in the way, given it was a long pass to hit him and there weren’t clear runners nearby. FKA was definitely offside, no question. But he wasn’t looking at the half – he was running pretty hard to get onside. Is he required to stay offside? If so, then the Crusader who ran 1m to McDermott’s left (which was where McDermott was already set to pass, before checking it to allow the Crusader to run through) on a Reds break was equally liable to penalty. But McDermott looked to play positive Rugby (and throw the pass). So for FKA’s offence then to be a YC as well? That’s a ref playing technicalities, rather than having any feel for the game.
          Same for the no try. If the try had gone the other way – i.e. the Crusaders had scored it – I’d likely have been annoyed, but I’d be resigned that a halfback stepping away from the direction of the advancing loose forward was never a realistic chance of doing anything. I’d have considered any penalty denying the Crusaders a try in exactly the same situation extremely fortuitous.

        • Human

          Where should he have been? He looked to be getting back onside, did not seem to change his line or loiter in order to impede the half. It looked more as though the half had to pass it forward in order to hit Lukhan…there was plenty of room to hit his receiver.

        • Greg

          We need more of this.

          I am waiting for a penalty try to be awarded due to cynical play and the ref to say….

          “that was so cynical that you must have believed he was more likely than not to score. Honestly… I wasn’t sure at first.. but you convinced me!”

        • Who?

          You’re on a roll KB – Hall’s throwing passes at Brumbies, then Clive Owen’s reffing! :-D

        • Mica

          Nigel Owen maybe??

        • Keith Butler

          My mistake.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        Yep that 1st scrum penalty confused me even after replays. I thought here we go again…..

    • cantab

      What about when the crusaders had to play the last 8 minutes with only 14 players as the officials didn’t know the rules?

      • Brumby Runner

        I’m glad this occurred. I have been asking for some time what happens when a player is cleared of a HIA but doesn’t return to play. The information the ref was given was that Jordan had passed the HIA test so in my view it would have been flouting the laws to allow Moanga to stay there after he had been officially replaced.

        It also looked to me that Jordan’s injury initially wasn’t to the head, but it was feigned just to allow Moanga to return in his absence. It is a situation that presently is rife with possible lurks to exploit. Needs to be clarified with a hard line interpretation asap.

        • cantab

          It was Hunt and not jordon. No HIA ‘test’ was done as he had lost consciousness on the field.

        • Human

          It looked like he was smirking as he walked off…I thought it was suss then but he went up the tunnel so assumed it was HIA. I agree with your sentiments BR

      • laurence king

        Well that just re-inforces the ineptness of the official doesn’t it

      • Who?

        I have to admit, I had to quickly leave the room when they were sorting it out, and didn’t see the conclusion to it. However, that wasn’t the ref… He was being called by the substitution manager (the 4th ref), and I’d imagine he’d have been taking advice on who as ruled to have subbed on for whom, which is something the ref can rule but rarely does, given he’s got enough on his hands already.

    • GO THE Q REDS

      Possibly because even with a popped rib and being pushed around in a wheelchair he still offered more than Stewart does in attack an playmaking……

      • Who?

        Exactly………. Stewart AND Paia’aua out there, and they still thought they needed a bloke with a popped rib. A bloke who’s been released by two other clubs, who’s never been in true Wallabies contention. Says a lot about their confidence in two players who are touted as Wallabies… :-

  • Gottsy

    Big effort from the boys but we need to play smarter and with a bit more direction. I’m not sure everyone was on the same page in attack throughout the entire game, and this could become an issue if not addressed. Some good signs for the future though, and my usual pattern of starting the season blindly optimistic then dropping off through the season is still intact

    • Old_Laurentian

      Yup, in attack they didn’t seem to know which page they were on. I had expected something a little more threatening from these young Reds after the last game. Maybe the lack of forwards domination?

      • Gottsy

        Yeah me too, I think it’s also worth noting though that this is an extremely well drilled crusaders outfit, and it looked like they bamboozled the reds a little in attack, which I think wore them out a little mentally

  • Huw Tindall

    Reds don’t know how to give up. If it was a 120 min game they woukd have won! After going down 10-0 it looked they could fall apart. Credit to them they didn’t.

    Luhkan’s yellow was a joke. How esle is he meant to get onside? Penalty sure but i dont see how that’s any different from an accidental off side.

    Big fan of the Smiths too. Sure they were against the Crusaders reserve front row but they dominated and contributed with numerous runs and a turnover. Gave the Reds front foot ball!

    The Crusaders though. So good. A step above any other team.

    • AllyOz

      Do you think it’s a better balanced side with Luhkan locking rather than on the side. I know they want to give him the best chance to represent for the Wallabies but I wonder if he’s best spot for Qld (and the Wallabies) is at 4 or 5. The newspaper commentary suggested it was perhaps a request from the Wallabies or something similar. The pack didn’t seem to have the same go forward as the previous week (also playing a different pack admittedly) and they have some good loose forwards like Higginbotham on the bench.

      • Huw Tindall

        Definitely. Crusaders have the best pack in the comp hands down so I can understand playing Luhkan at 6 for this game but the Reds got schooled at the breakdown without a more mobile 6. The Crusaders had so much quick ball that in the end I think the Reds did well not to concede more points. Your number 6 should definitely be doing some carrying but they need more mobility so they can, hit the rucks, and defend in tight and open channels. I think Luhkan had a decent game and plenty of defensive effort (like the whole team) but I’d have preferred him in second row with a legit 6. Which brings us to Higgers. Jeeze he looked sharp on his return. Sure it was reserve against tired bodies but still. His experience should count for a lot too. If he can recapture that form from his year as Rebels captain he could go a long way to Wallabies contention.

    • Mica

      The problem was Lukhan’s play was dumb. He wasn’t even watching when he got hit by the ball. I agree the yellow was a bit OTT, but if he was a bit smarter in his actions, he could have taken the decision out of the hands of the ref.

  • kp

    Anybody know what happened close to full time when the crusaders were forced to remove a player from the field? Oh, and if that ref ever goes near a rugby field again we are all screwed.

    • Bernie Chan

      The replacement flyhalf went off injured…was not a HIA per se so the Crusaders were not entitled to replace him as they had used up all their subs.
      The Ref was making some curious rulings…

      • cantab

        Turns out is was A HIA and appears the official just didn’t know the rules. A post game apologie was issued to The crusaders coach.

        • Bernie Chan

          If that’s the case someone on the sideline got it wrong as the Ref clearly said it wasn’t a HIA…could see a Crusaders official arcing up, so I’d imagine that questions will be asked internally about how the wires got ‘crossed’. Glad it didn’t cost a win, as that would have been a really serious consequence…Ref got a few things wrong!

        • Brumby Runner

          All refs get things wrong. Marius had generally a good game as he usually does. The only blunder of consequence in my books was the disallowed try to Wright, but that was more down to George Ayoub.

          The Reds made too many mistakes on early phases when they had possession and that’s why they lost the game.

        • Bernie Chan

          Spot on…the Reds made too many mistakes and lacked game management. No “refs call” cost the game.

        • Who?

          That wasn’t Ayoub. It was clearly the ref. He made the call. He said taking a player beyond the breakdown. JP wasn’t beyond the breakdown, there were two blokes on the ground just to his right further down field when he first made contact with Hall, and he didn’t actually manage to get a great grab on Hall. Meanwhile, Hall was doing what halfbacks do – he was sneaking a look to see if he could grab that loose ball on the ground. You don’t want to get done for taking out the (opposition) halfback, so you come through over the ball, when there’s no one to bind onto, you look for contact. There was nothing in it, it was a call you could make twenty times a game, but you don’t.
          And Ayoub didn’t make the call, the ref did, he made it on cleaning out a player beyond the breakdown, whereas Ayoub only said, “He did hold him,” as in, maybe you could pay obstruction. But if holding a bloke – and not even well enough to prevent him from taking a dive – is cleaning out beyond the breakdown, then we need some better ref training, because this bloke doesn’t get the game.

        • Mica

          So do they penalise everyone who grabs a jersey around the breakdown now??
          Count the instances you see of this next round and see how many result in a penalty……

        • Who?

          It wasn’t clearly communicated at the time. Hunt hadn’t copped a head knock (he’d copped a pretty mean tackle, but no head knock), Havili was subbed on at the same time as Mo’unga came back on. It was very clearly communicated by the sideline official – not by the ref (he misspoke) – that Hunt went off as ‘category 1′, ‘NOT an HIA’, therefore he was an injury replacement, and not eligible for HIA replacement. If it was meant to be an HIA (and given the tackle on Hunt, who was fine before the tackle, entering breakdowns and running freely), then clearly that wasn’t communicated effectively and clearly by the Crusaders’ sideline officials to the game officials.
          But hey, good for the Crusaders to get an apology. Rarely happens for teams to get an apology…
          No question, the Crusaders were the better side, and deserved the win. But the calls rarely go against them. Winning games helps with winning positive perceptions with the refs, and they’ve clearly got that going for them.

  • Adrian

    Only 1/3 for me.
    I got carried away in picking the Reds, ..but some good players there, against a crack TEAM in Crusaders

    • laurence king

      I didn’t pick the Reds but had a lot of hope, they’ll have learnt a lot from that, and being a young side they will be resilient.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        I’m hoping they learn Stewart has not shown anything good at 10…..or any position they move him in fact and need to get a real 10 and stop blocking the FB posdition

        • laurence king

          I’ve seen him do some good things, though if your going to pick a bloke, have him play the position like it’s supposed to be played. Protecting players because they have perceived weaknesses or are young doesn’t do anyone any good, just reinforces the weakness. That mentality has not helped Kurtley or Foley and it drags the whole team down.

  • Bernie Chan

    In further good news (unless you are a Chiefs fan or NZ rugby nut…) the Sunwolves beat the Chiefs in NZ. An epic result for Japanese rugby…

    • Patrick

      Indeed it is, wow

    • laurence king

      I guess it puts a slightly different slant on the Tahs performance doesn’t it, seems they were better than they looked.

      • Who?

        Or that the Brumbies weren’t as good as we thought…

  • Gallagher

    As a lifetime reds fan, recently converted to the rebels, I still sadly look at that disfunctioning backline and think what could have been Brad.

    • Brisneyland Local

      You and me both. If Brad Swallowed his pride and recruited properly they could have had Genia and Cooper back in the fold. BUt alas. they dont. Hence why I support the Rebels now.

      • AllyOz

        As a brand new Reds fan I am happy with the changes made. It is a young developing side but there is plenty of promise for mine and I want to give the new backs coach a bit of time with some of this raw talent before I give up. It seems a lot of “life time Red’s fans” are actually Quade Cooper and Will Genia fans. For one, I don’t think the Reds had either the money under the cap or in the bank to recruit Genia and, in any case, the decision was made before Thorn was head coach

        https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/wallabies-halfback-will-genia-signs-with-melbourne-rebels-20170815-gxwbq6.html
        https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/brad-thorn-confirmed-as-new-queensland-reds-coach-20171005-p4ywat.html

        Genia signed in August and Thorn was announced as coach two months later in October so that can hardly be his fault. I remember the Reds under John Connolly when they dominated Super 10 and when they had the likes of Lynagh, Horan and Little. As long as the juniors and grassroots aren’t neglected (and this is a risk) Queensland will continue to produce plenty of talented youngsters that will be the equal or better of Genia and QC. QC and Genia are excellent players and might still have a couple of years in them but Thorn has decided that, after 5 years of not making the finals- actually not finishing better than 13th, that it was time to try something different. All power to his hand I say and, though a NS Welshman I am going for the Reds this year because I like the approach they are taking.

        • Bernie Chan

          Not so, I’m still a Reds supporter but have not renewed my membership…I sat through a multitude of terrible seasons while holding the most expensive level of memberships (yes…the record thrashing while Eddie Jones killed us, then RG etc etc…). Renewing the squad is well and good, but BT decided to dump a couple of key players AFTER the Reds squad was announced even though he had no ready replacements. Can’t blame Hamish Stewart, but he is not ready for Super Rugby…and that couple of years that Sanchez and QC “might” have in them should have been used to prepare the next gen of Reds playmakers. The marginalisation of DPA seems to be poor man management, perhaps the most difficult role the coach has to perform (note that in top tier football/soccer the top person in the coaching ranks is the Manager…). You are correct that the dysfunctional QRU has been woeful at retaining players (the number of quality Reds players to have left in the last several years is stunning…) and they let Sanchez slip away…they also allowed a situation where we in QLD are paying for QC, Hunt and Slipper to play for other teams…all while we are almost broke.

        • Brisneyland Local

          AO, dont get me wrong I think what Thorn is trying to achieve is worth pursuing. The manner in which he is doing it not.
          I had been a Reds member for two decades, through good and bad, I was there (trust me there was a lot of both). When I had kids they were there with me, involved in the Rookies to Reds. My nephew was in the Reds squad. The company that I own, was a Reds corporate sponsor and had been for a number of years. So I have a little bit of background with the club. The non-recruitment of Genia, was the QRU and partially Thorn’s decision. Thorn although not announced as coach, was not only the heir apparent, but had already been tapped on the shoulder, and had input to decisions made. Although they were not his alone to make.
          The club, due to its ongoing and seemingly permanent state of mis-management was in a perilous financial state of being, that would get worse during CY18. The Reds decided that Genia was too old and was not worth the money, even though Genia had offered a lower rate than what he initially asked for. Luckily enough Moses Sorovi has come along to plug that gap, although not completely but in time he will develop. I still think they could have afforded Genia, if other poor decisions hadn’t have been made.
          Once Thorn got the top job, he started axing players from the top list. Although this was not made public. Infact the announced the squad for CY 18, had Cooper and Frisby still in it. But then a week later someone with in the club leaked the fact that Thorn was not going to play either of them. When the club was formally asked, they refused to respond.
          When I and a number of other corporate sponsors asked the question (which as a financial contributor we have a right to ask) we were told and i quote “It is none of your business!”
          At that point myself and a number of other corporate members withdrew our money and cancelled our membership. A lot of personal friends of mine who are members also withdrew their membership. It had nothing to do with the fact that is was QC. It had everything to do with the manner in which it was done. If it had been done to another senior player (i.e George Smith) my outrage would have been just as loud and vitriolic.
          I went to a club meeting and personally asked board members and BT those questions, and the response I got was, “This is our strategy and we are sticking to it!” There was no message to fans or members. Or sponsors. It was just radio silence. They initially stuck with their back up 10 to QC a guy called Jake McIntyre, who was poor. They had another young kid from Brothers called Sam Greene, as well but lost him to Japanese clubs, due to their arrogance and mismanagement. They discarded both, and treated them poorly (as in common for the Reds).
          I think Brad Thorn was a great player, and in time will be a good coach. His people skills and religious further (i.e. asking players to cop a knee and say a prayer before training) is immature and alienating. His lack of ability to communicate with the fans and members and get them on side with his plan, is demonstrative of a lack of understanding of how the Aus Rugby fan base works. If he had held a members night, and stood up and briefed everyone on what his plan was and how he was going to do it. Encouraging members to buy into his vision, he might have kept a higher percentage of the fan base there. The fans (most of them) havnt left in particular because they are QC fans or Genia fans. They left because they were sick and tired of being treated for mugs. 20+ years of Platinum membership, plus being a corporate sponsorship afforded me nothing but arrogance and rudeness. I wonder how everyday members were treated? Not well I bet you!
          AO I am glad that you are onboard as a new member. I dont hate the Reds, am just disappointed that they dont understand that it is us members, supporters and sponsors that help pay their wages! For your consideration.

        • Greg

          Quite an insightful essay @BL

          “asking players to cop a knee and say a prayer before training”
          That is outrageous. Each person is entitled to their own beliefs. No person should expect others to follow their own. To introduce this in teh work place must be close to illegal.

        • Andrew H

          +1 for this. These players are surely regarded as employees in their contracts (for the purposes of labour laws and workplace rights) and that would have to fall outside the law.
          Do you have a source on that?

        • Old_Laurentian

          Yes @BL a great post, and your last sentence reflects by own thinking as a Brisbane local and past Reds season ticket holder for so long. The disdain for the supporter base and continued mismanagement of the player base beggers belief. I had drifted away before the QC business, but I will always put my money through the nearest turnstile to watch him play.

        • AllyOz

          There is a lot of stuff I agree with in there – a lot that I don’t. Certainly your association with the Reds is longer and deeper than mine and my comments might have suggested that those who swapped were lightweight supporters- obviously that is not the case for you and many others here BUT
          1. A club that allows its supporters and corporate sponsors to pick its playing squad members or to have an input into that is more dysfunctional and not doing its job
          2. Members and spectators have been declining since 2013 – they are declining I would suggest purely and simply because the Reds were finishing near the bottom.
          3. I still don’t agree that BT had any influence over the Genia decision- Genia admits the timing of his return made it almost impossible for the Reds to sign him for 800k – they had three contracted halfbacks none of whom BT had contracted. If BT had the influence you suggest at the time then why was QC cut so late – that suggests the opposite of the point you are making.
          4. Other coaches had tried to rebuild around QC but it hadn’t worked for whatever reason – Something and someone new was needed – Stewart is a very different type of player but I am a bit more hopeful than you about his prospects and I also think others like Isaac Lucas can now emerge without the shadow of Quade
          5. You often bring up this issue of religion often but the people I know in the organisation don’t see it happening in the way you describe – I don’t think it’s childish to have a faith and express it and there is no evidence from those I talk to that anyone is forced to do anything

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ally Oz, thanks for your considered response. It is not often on rugby blogs that people are as measured as yourself. Some other points for consideration.
          1. Sorry if you gained an inference of the club allowing members and sponsors to pick the squad. That is not what I meant. I should have expressed my self clearer. That isnt what is happening. But the commercial reality of people like myself and other company owners, we make our decision to align our brand with their brand when we see similar values. When the club started ditching senior players with no explanation to the players or supporters, we see a change in values in the club. Sponsors want to see success, but also do not want the actions of the club to bring the club or its sponsors name into disrepute. The actions of the QRU in doing what they did, was dishonest. They announce a squad, sign up members and sponsors, then axe two senior players two weeks after. Not a good look.
          2. Very true. But after the beggining of 2018, before the season started, the Reds lost 25% of membership ina fortnight. Hmmmm !
          3. BT factually did have input, his wasnt the final decision on Genia, but he had significant input. QC was cut late after the membership sign up, beause they knew the impact of announcing it before hand. So they announced the squad and then cut him and Frisby afterwards.
          4. The other coaches you are talking about were Nick Stiles and Woody Graham? Two of the least sucessful coaching decisions the QRU have ever made. A usual QRU position of doing a world wide search that goes no further than the Balyymore carpark. Both were technically incompetent. Both were not ready to be senior coaches. They lacked the ability to coach the team at that level. Their results stand for themsleves.
          5. My feedback on this point is from players in the squad that I still do work with. I have no reason to doubt there opinion on this matter.

        • AllyOz

          Good discussion, tah

        • Brisneyland Local

          No worries. Plenty of good people on here to have them with! that is why I pretty much only stay on this blog only. Positive, engaging, not trolling Gee we even have great Kiwi’s on this site.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Is that really the reason for the timing of Quade being cut?

          Any idea as to the reasons behind Tuttle’s disappearance?

        • Brisneyland Local

          I must admit I have little mail on Tuttle.
          Re QC it was the reason he was cut, but above is definitely the sequence of his cutting and the reasons behind that sequence.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nicely written mate. Pity no one who needs to is reading it

        • AllyOz

          I read it and I needed to.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          if you can get the Reds board to read it and take notice I’d be happier

        • theduke

          Terrific insight BLL. I am also one of Reds outcasts supporting the Rebels. And you know what, I’m enjoying watching rugby again.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Me and you both!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I only have two issues:

          1. What is BT trying to achieve? I don’t really see evidence of any better strategy than under Stiles.

          2. I see no evidence yet that he will be a good coach in time.

        • Brisneyland Local

          DBTB I think time will be the test of this one.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          PAH. If you accept the way Brad Thorn treated Quade then I feel you may have Alot to learn in life about how people should be treated. And let’s not blame QUADE for the reds failing to be competitive or reach the finals the last 5 years or so….. it’s a bit hard to help the reds the when your either in Toulon, playing 7s, having long injury lay offs or taking a wooden spoon club team to the finals. And I’m sick of the whole “young team” excuse. The 2011 champions were just as young. The lions have played with a pretty young team in recent years and been great. So have the Blues! If they’re good enough they play.

        • AllyOz

          I am happy with the way QC was treated. He didn’t pick him and as a coach it’s his job to make that decision. I don’t think QC would b playing the rugby he is at the moment if he was still at the Reds. But some of that is because he has been prepared to make some changes to his game for a new coach and a new club that he wasn’t prepared to make at the Reds, some of it is because he has Genia inside, which he was never going to to have at Reds and some off it is because he had a relatively light season last year after working himself into the ground and playing injured for a. Couple of seasons

        • Who?

          It’s interesting to compare QC’s position last year compared to people accused of major crimes in the NRL. They’re talking about suing the NRL to force permission to play. Arguing it ruins their earning potential. QC did nothing of the sort, he simply maintained his contractual obligations AND more (given he wasn’t required to play club rugby and strengthen the club game in Brisbane).
          Part of the reason, I’d imagine, why people like BLL were questioning the QRU board as sponsors is the fact that, by the end of last season, the Reds had about $1.6M/season of fit, healthy and eligible Wallaby players rotting away on the bench. Having also moved on a few other guys (Frisby and Vanzati – I’d love to know what Vanzati had supposedly done to deserve that, given he’d been going alright on the field, was getting picked consistently). Two of those Wallabies were Reds Centurions, part of the only SR Title team they’d ever produced. They’d also released another one of their centurions and title veterans (Simmons, who’s done well for the Tahs) in the previous three months, whilst retaining a bloke who’d been brought back at great expense by Cheika to have done literally nothing in a Red jersey (Douglas) who’d be gone within another 12 months. And they didn’t grab Genia – yet another of the 2011 winners and centurion (though that was more understandable at the time, given they were already deeper than idea at 9. Though, given they sacked Frisby within a couple of months, it looks bizarre in hindsight)
          The Reds have only seven centurions. They’ve treated four of them with little respect, arguably two of them were shown nothing but disrespect. What does that say about club culture? Especially when the bloke who sacked two of them and was at least an assistant during the non-signing of the other two was on the losing side of that 2011 game, and was in fact penalized for a deliberate trip on a certain QC. As in, he doesn’t have any reason to reflect fondly on the club’s history. And it seems the rest of the organization doesn’t care for it, either. Further, they’ve flushed well over a million dollars of playing talent down the drain with nothing to show for it. If I were a sponsor, I’d be asking why I should be providing cash to fund that sort of financial delinquency. Especially when the Reds showed little interest in shipping off QC, Hunt or Slipper last year. They should’ve been looking for any and every opportunity to reduce their costs, but they didn’t.
          Meanwhile, the standards of QRU development, I haven’t heard anything positive other than developing girls’ 7’s (which is a good thing, but, in my region, it was the action of one good bloke who got government funding specifically tied to that program, which forced the development. It wasn’t a QRU thing, or a local sub-union thing). There was a significant decline in the quality of information being fed out to the regions post 2013… The Rugby department of the QRU has no runs on the board over the past half decade. Strength in the club game isn’t anything the QRU (or NSWRU) can claim as being from their input.

        • AllyOz

          It’s not 2011 any more…it’s 2019.

        • Who?

          Points completely missed… I’ll try one last time.
          1. You don’t build club culture by disrespecting club legends. I’m not saying they should’ve been retained, I’m saying they were treated shabbily. These guys were heroes to today’s playing group – is their treatment at the end of their time representing the Reds going to inspire the current players to remain with the club? Or are they more likely to be jaded mercenaries?
          2. Sponsors have a right to ask about financial stewardship when you’re wasting literally millions of dollars of talent who aren’t even permitted to train. It’s like giving cash to your drug addict cousin – good money after bad.

        • AllyOz

          I heard you the first time Who? I just don’t happen to agree with you. Apart from Quade I cant see any club legends that Thorn moved on. KH joined the club and received his initial drug conviction in the first month, he played a season and then had another drug conviction (admittedly a lesser charge) James Slipper took Cocaine at least twice – as Thorn was clear that wasn’t an example he wanted around a young squad not is it likely to please families with young kids you are trying to attract to the game. So who else, Rob Simmons – he has played ok but hasn’t really set the world on fire for the Tahs. His best years are behind him and the Reds pack is not missing him. Wayne Bennett made a similar decision on Wally Lewis and in context he would have inspired more of the young players coming into the Broncos than even Quade and that is not denying the huge following he has. Lewis still played some good games including State of Origins but most agree Bennett’s decision was right and trace the beginning of their run to the dual premierships in the early 1990s to that decision. Kevin Walters is never mentioned in the same breath as Lewis and rightly so but he was right for the Broncos. Stewart and Lucas may never be the player that Quade is but they may be the ones to take the Reds beyond 13th.

          Again only QC was excluded without a clear reason and, if he had chosen to take offers from elsewhere the cost would have been reduced. He stuck by his guns and good on him.

          I am sure you will come back with something else as you seem keen to have the last word on this but there are many people who don’t have the same view on Quade as you – amongst my rugby mates (all Qlders) most don’t hold him in the same esteem as you. Anyway that’s all I have to say about it.

        • disqus_NMX

          Another legendary comment from Who?!

        • Funk

          The only thing i disagree with from your comment was that I thought Douggie actually came good at the reds, it did take a little while but by the end he was playing really well, nothing flashy, just some good graft in the ugly stuff.

        • Who?

          You voted me down? I don’t see anything. And it’s fine – we’re allowed to vote people up and down. :-)
          Dougie sort of came good, after Simmo was gone. He was injured for his first season, his second season he struggled to get into the 23, then Simmons was released and he started to get picked. Then, once again, the year before a RWC, he disappeared overseas…
          I don’t blame Douglas, I blame Cheika and the QRU. The QRU shouldn’t ever have taken him on, and Cheika brought him back off the back of one solid Super season, where he was credited for much of the good work done by JacPot. Everyone hyped him up as being the solution to our pack issues, yet his pack in 2014 was set up from the energy JacPot brought, and included a fit Palu (which wasn’t the case the next year).

        • Funk

          Sorry, I was clicking to reply and accidentally hit the down vote, I then clicked the up vote and the down vote disappeared in my view, so i though it was all good.

        • laurence king

          Well, I’m still hoping. Thorn shouldn’t have let Quade go at the very least, that’s a given and the team is suffering for it. However, they played a pretty good side last night. And the Reds won’t be the last side unravelled by that lot.

        • Who?

          Great point about the 2011 Reds – they were rather young, and one can look back and think, “What might’ve been…” Second year with their coach, Genia and Cooper were both reasonably experienced Wallabies, but Jono Lance’s 5th game was the Final, Digby was capped by no other backs were capped. Simmons was young, Kev was a Wallaby, but the pack wasn’t exactly full of Wallabies (most of their caps came later).
          Until this year, the team that most resembled that level of coaching (and perhaps beyond it) was the Chiefs… You’d see some bloke come in from the Hamilton 4ths and know exactly what he was meant to be doing… A major problem with Stiles and Graham was that no one looked like they had a clue where they should be.

  • joy

    On paper the Reds defence was outstanding at 92% but an even more outstanding Crusaders attack easily dominated on the day.

    • AllyOz

      I guess it depends sometimes on where and when those 8% are missed. Some tackles are more crucial than others. 4 tries against doesn’t suggest a team has defended well but I only listened on the radio so I can’t comment further.

    • Who?

      Good thing the Crusaders kept on throwing the ball over the left hand sideline, hey? ;-)
      The Crusaders were efficient, but not at their best. Imagine if those half dozen passes into touch had stuck…

  • Custard Taht

    At what point does reality replace optimism. The Reds this season do not look to be an improvement on last season. New season same old issues, I think the Reds need more than a God wills it game plan.

    Reds will finish last out of the Aussie teams and may even claim the conference wooden spoon.

    • laurence king

      That’s a brave call, after all the Reds have played two very good sides, I’ll stick my neck out and say that they’ll do better than the Tahs. There’ll be a few teams who will get absolutely whacked this year by the Highlanders and Crusaders. And ‘God wills it game plan’, …cute but a bit sour I think.

      • Custard Taht

        The Tahs, whilst not a great team, are still better than the Reds. The Brumbies, well who knows what they will be this year. The conference winners will be either the Rebels or the Tah’s.
        Even bigger call, Reds will be lucky to win half their home games and may win 1 on the road. Reds record at end of season will be 5-11.
        As for the game plan, that seems to be all they have…is it sour, maybe to some, do I care…nope.

        • laurence king

          Well, as a Tahs supporter I hope you’re right, but methinks not. It should be interesting.

        • AllyOz

          Whether the tahs are a better team than the Reds will be decided next week not this week. The Reds looked better losing to the Highlanders than the Tahs looked in either of their games – a loss and a shoddy win against last year’s last placed Sunwolves minus their Japanese rep players. Tahs vs Reds should be a good contest, with the Reds the stronger pack on paper and recent performance and the Tahs with a Wallabies backline.

  • Gipetto

    Higgers and Timu on the bench; persevering with Stewart; failing to start JP Smith; playing Hegarty out of position; not putting Higgers on until the end… and the reds are still paying Cooper to conjure up wins for the Rebels. It’s easy to back the Rebels and forget the Reds until the tenure of Coach Goon ends.

  • Brumby Runner

    I have seen everything now. In one team (and the national side) we have a No 10 whogets hidden in defense, and now we have in the Reds a No 10 who gets hidden in attack.

    Neither Stewart nor Hegarty are the players the Reds need at 10. Stewart is a poor organiser and lacks control of the attack. Hegarty is a poor kicker both strategically and physically and just gifted possession to the Cru on many occasions.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Ben and a nice write up. I thought the Reds stood up a lot in this game and while BT is pissed for the loss I think the team is going in the right direction. I still think Tupou has read far too much press about his abilities and like most things in the press they are way off reality. I know this will upset a few but in my mind he needs to stop trying to be the big hero around the park and start learning how to do the basics well. He does show a lot of potential but unless he starts pulling his head in and learning it will never vibe realised.

    • Fatflanker

      Yeah, thought the scrum refereeing was a bit sh*t but, no doubt about it, Tupou has a lot of work to do yet. It was disappointing to see the Reds set piece fail to fire – hopefully they’ll learn from this game.

    • AllyOz

      Never hurts for a young up and comer to get towelled up – he will learn a lot from it. He was up again a decent front row in Owen Franks, Andrew Makalio, Joe Moody but, as you say, a prop needs to his bread and butter first before he adds the gravy

  • Huw Tindall

    I literally can’t tell them apart if it wasn’t for the numbers on their backs :D

  • Nutta

    Thoughts for Rodda. Backing up for another belter against arguably the best franchise side in the world after what would have been an astronomically emotional and exhausting week was not a realistic expectation on anyone’s part.

    The Reds lacked a General. Their play was just too simplistic. Honestly it was bordering on being like watching Wales at times. And again, when playing that quality of opposition, you are not going to win playing like that.

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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