Reds swept up by Vol-Kaino - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Reds swept up by Vol-Kaino

Reds swept up by Vol-Kaino

As I make the step up to the adult table and progress to the wide world of match reports, the Queensland Reds looked to come back from the June International break with a promising performance against a Blues side that has struggled mightily and hadn’t won a game at home all season.

It was cold clear night at Eden Park, as Jerome Kaino played his last home game before his move to France at the end of the season. In a classy move, the Reds joined the Blues in forming a tunnel to clap the warhorse onto the field. It was a shame to see so many empty seats but given the respective positions of both teams, not a surprise.

After Kaino (perhaps with a tear in his eye after such a touching gesture) spilled the kickoff, the Reds won a penalty straight up from the scrum, Tupou powerfully forcing Alex Hodgman to the ground. Lance slots the penalty and the Reds are up 3-0.

The next ten minutes were more like an episode of the Three Stooges minus the comedic sound effects, as both teams either dropped the ball or turned it over at a ruck at an alarming rate. The heavy dew was the likely culprit but you would expect more from two professional sqauds.

At the tail end of this period, a lineball penalty call in a ruck saw Stephen Perofeta slot a penalty. Three all after twelve minutes. The signs weren’t looking good for the Reds at this point, no impact in their attack and when the Blues did hold onto the ball they were over the gain line with alarming regularity.

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Just after the restart, Tupou earns another scrum penalty, (note to reader- there is a theme here), Lance converts the shot and it is 6-3 after 15. Sadly for Reds fans, this is the point where the Blues figured out how to hold onto the ball. A few minutes of solid phase play and many metres gained eventually told and a ball out to Melani Nanai on the right wing saw a neat finish and Eto Nabuli clutching at thin air. Try Blues, with Perofeta missing the kick. 8-6 Blues after 20. The Reds continued having little care for the ball, Sorovi in particular playing with flagrant disregard for ball security.

At this point Ben “I miss the sound of my own voice” Skeen intervened and a relatively innocuous lift in a tackle by Jordan Petaia saw him given a yellow card. Not content with that Skeen, two minutes later, Skeen decided that Taniela Tupou has executed a grass cutter tackle and he too earnt himself a spell in the naughty chair. Scott Higginbotham did well to not have his head explode at this point, but now had to lead his men through a tough spell With the Reds down to 13 for eight minutes you would expect a half decent team to punish them, and that is exactly what the Blues did.

After Perofeta added a penalty, three phases from the kickoff and the very dangerous Rieko Ioane broke away and beat three despairing defenders to dot down. Perofeta missed the conversion but it was now 16-6 to the Blues and things were spiralling for Queensland. Worse was to come shortly after the kickoff when another long break was backed up by hooker Matt Moulds who scored next to the posts.

Again, Perofeta very kindly missed the conversion but it was 21-6 and the damage was done. As halftime approached the Reds tried to piggbyback themselves down the field on the back of five penalties, but an inability to hold the ball for more than three phases saw them spill it close to the line and we are off for oranges and it is 21-6. Early in the second half and Tupou monsters Hodgman again for another scrum penalty. Pop Quiz- How many identical scrum penalties do you need before someone gets a yellow card? The answer we will never know as Hodgman gets the hook after conceding four.

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Brad Thorn was clearly having conniptions at this point as Moses Sorovi and Hamish Stewart both get pulled after Perofeta kicks another penalty. 24-6 Blues after 46 minutes.

After some comically bad ball handling results in more pressure and yet a scrum in front,  Perofeta goes over from the a simple set piece  it is 31 6 Blues after the conversion and I am truly regretting saying yes when Rugby Reg asked me to cover the game. At this point the Reds had barely seen the Blues half and definitely hadn’t make them work very hard in defence.

Finally in the 62nd minute, some concerted attack and ball security saw the ball spun wide left after some bullocking runs by Caleb Timu and  Duncan Paia’aua scores out wide. Lance missed the conversion and at 31-11 the game still had a sniff of hope, especially as Matiaha Martin found himself on the end of a yellow card for repeated infringements.

The scrum penalties continued to mount and as we reached seven in total we had to wonder how many would see someone go. Seemingly the answer was eight as Sione Mafileo finally had a card waved at him. Oddly he seemed shocked that eight penalties would result in such a punishment.

With two in the bin, would the Reds be able to make the Blues pay in the same manner as earlier? Short answer is no. A poor inside flick pass option from Aiden Toua saw one chance go begging and a lack of clear direction was evident. Eventually the Reds earnt a penalty (from another scrum) and oddly Lance kicked for the line. Fortunately Alex Mafi was on the back of a good driving maul and the Reds were over. 31-16 Blues but with only eight minutes left, it was as good as over.

Unfortunately the Blues didn’t think so, another penalty this time Gatland saw it 34-16 and then in the dying minute, a Tate McDermott force back in cover defence saw young gun Caleb Clarke go over after the ensuing 5m scrum. 39-16 to the Blues and in a fitting finale, Jermoe Kaino horribly shanks the conversion attempt and that’s how it ended.

Final Thoughts:

  • Much like Under 12’s there is little reward for a dominant set piece. The Reds have a world class scrum but when the rest of the game is badly compromised there is little point.
  • The TMO will again be an issue after Ben Skeen’s repeated intervention. Oddly he also seemed to have ducked out for a wizz a few times, notably when Lance was clipped in the air making a clearing kick and early on when a no arm clean out from Kaino had Higginbotham in pain.
  • The key figures in the set piece dominance, Tupou, Tui et al, were quiet in all other elements of the game. Nobody from the Reds consistently made ground other than Caleb Timu, although he dropped the ball too often.
  • Rieko Ioane was fantastic in the centres, could this be his long term position?

All in all a disappointing performance by the Reds who would have been expecting a lot more from themselves against a struggling team.


Blues: 39- Tries: Nanai, Ioane, Perofeta, Moulds, Clarke, Conversion: Perofeta 1, Penalties: Perofeta 3, Gatland 1

Reds: 16- Tries: Paia’aua, Mafi, Penalties: Lance 2

  • Archie

    Salute to Kaino… what a warrior and true legend of the game!

    Messy old game, in the end a bit of a thrashing. Two yellow cards a piece, and elsewhere the Blues got absolutely blown off the pitch by the referee… so they’d be hugely pleased to come away with an 18 point win. I thought though this game still showed the gap between the Blues and the other Kiwi teams. Skill execution not great.

    Reds really missing a commanding half back IMO. A Genia would do them wonders.

    Thought all yellows were pretty fair. Not sure how anyone could defend any of the players.

    Though what is the deal with deliberate slap downs?? Thought that was another yellow to the Reds coming up… but not even a penalty. Don’t really care how they treat them, just make up your mind.

    • IIPA

      Archie, Petaia’s tackle was in open play and in front of a touchie. If he and the ref don’t call it during the game then play on and if it’s found to be bad enough then cite Petaia on Monday morning… but oh then Ben doesn’t get his voice on Tv.

      Tupou’s tackle wasn’t a yellow, never been a yellow, should never be a yellow and is just absolute nonsense to interrupt a game to review that as per Rangi’s slide into Foley in the other match where Nic Berry was forced to watch three minutes of the most innane television since Love Island started and you can tell he just wanted the TMO to get back in his box.

      • Archie

        Disagree. TMO was DOING HIS JOB (correctly I’ll add). If you have a problem with the scope of his job then direct your displeasure at World Rugby, not Ben Skeen.

        Tupou was wreckless and deserved everything he got.

        Commiserations Reds. Just not good enough.

        • IIPA

          I’m sorry but if that’s his job then WR don’t realize they are in the entertainment business.

          He is clearly over-reaching his job definitions. It’s almost like “if I don’t find something in 80minutes I’m not going to get paid”

        • OnTheBurst

          Spot on

        • OnTheBurst

          BUT ultimately WR have to provide the leadership and the guidelines to the refs and TMOs… it’s a debacle at present

        • OnTheBurst

          But don’t get me wrong, Skeen is a total git

        • HK Red

          That’s exactly it, as per Gardiner the other week with his yellow,…….”you leave me no choice” and then the next week WR rescind it. What are the refs to do in that instance?

        • Archie

          ‘Over-reaching his job definitions’… what does that mean?

          Does his ‘job definition’ currently require him to intervene if he spots what meets the current definition of foul play? Answer = yes.

          Were the incidents he spotted within World Rugby’s current definition of foul play? Answer = yes.

          Conclusion therefore is he is simply doing his job… correctly. Ambiguous claims of the ‘overreaching’ of one’s ‘job definition’ are unfair and make no sense in the aforementioned framework.

          Again… potentially there is a valid issue, but it’s not with the TMO simply doing the job as he’s been told to do it.

        • IIPA

          We’all have to disagree mate. I saw neither of them being particularly “foul” and no one got hurt.

          I don’t believe TMOs have been been asked to tell refs to pull up and check every remotely incorrect looking tackle and that’s where we are getting too.

          Meanwhile on the opposite side of the ledger as the author notes other things are being missed in the same game that if the letter of the law is going to be applied then they stand out as inconsistent.

          Maybe I’m just shooting the messenger. But damn Skeen is an annoying messenger.

        • Archie

          ‘… and no one got hurt’…

          So why is that relevant… at all? Either 1) you know full well that rugby’s current laws don’t require a neck roll, a high tackle, a lifting tackle, a grass cutter tackle… to result in injury before they warrant a sanction, and you’re introducing a red herring; or 2) you somehow don’t know this and are genuinely naive to the current framework of rules.

          Inconsistency of rulings is a completely separate issue, and one that’s equally irrelevant to what we’ve been debating in these last few comments. Sure, happy to concede the TMO missed other incidents in the game (both ways I’d like to add), but that in no way is relevant to the matter of whether or not he got the the calls he did make correct within the current framework of World Rugby’s law.

        • IIPA

          I think you’ll find you are in the absolute minority thinking that both calls weren’t total rubbish and not worth the TMOs incursion. NFL fan by chance?

          Rugby games will soon be taking almost as long.

        • Archie

          Ok let’s look at the first one as an example. What part of that are you denying didn’t meet the current yellow threshold? Are you denying it was above the horizontal?… (pretty clear for all to see it was way beyond the horizontal).

        • Mica

          Agree that this is a justifiable YC.
          But Tupou’s? Why is this a yellow card? There were arms and it wasn’t high. I heard the term “grass cutter” is there now a criteria for foul play where the tackle is too low?

        • Archie

          Don’t think the officials agreed that there were arms.

        • Mica

          Guess they didn’t, but It’s pretty obvious when you watch the footage. Check out the linked video in this thread.

    • Parker

      But in the absence of such a half back, how about a commanding 10?

  • Ev

    Stunned the Kaino clean out wasn’t examined, assumed the TMO was going to stay out if the game. Clearly not…just missed that one

  • Simon

    Fun fact – according to ESPN stats, Akira Ioane’s run metres were the same as the entire Reds 23. Truly woeful.

    • Ed

      What the Wallabies could do with a forward that provided that many metres with the ball?

  • riaan

    Kaino’s attempted conversion at the end of the game summed up the match perfectly, shit kick that failed to reach any heights. Geez that was hard to watch with both sides making basic errors, throw in the TMO coming in willy nilly, and not coming in when i thought he would with the Kaino- Higginbotham incident, and the general low standard of referreeing (how did the blues not get someone yellow carded for repeated scrum infringements?)

    The reds were horrendous, Brad Thorn should make them sleep at a backpackers in Queen street tonight and take a ship back to Brisbane. I thought the replacement half looked ok when he came on, made some nice runs, but that’s about it.

  • Fatflanker

    We feel you pain, Ben. Not sure what killed this as a spectacle – the technically correct (perhaps) but somewhat pedantic cards, or the rubbish handling.

    Reds certainly did not get much change for their nine-odd penalty scrums however I still reckon carding the weaker scrum, (and potentially making it more weak), is just dumb, (unless its the poms…in that case, please carry on Ref).

    Big shout out to Jerome Kaino – great to see his young tackers join him on the field.

    • I didn’t see the match sadly so I don’t know the specifics of this match and what happened. However, multiple scrum penalties might not trigger the ref’s “lots of penalties at scrum time, next one gets a card” reflex if

      a) there are a lot of penalties in general (which it sounds like) so he doesn’t build up an impression of “I’m whistling up the Blue front row a lot close together” – because he’s whistling up Red in between a lot too;
      b) the penalties are pretty spread around, it sort of works along the front row, then comes back and starts again. Some referees will do the whole front row anyway but some look for a specific offender more. In my opinion, this tends to come into play more if a) is happening too. Refs tend to think “I’ve called Blue 3 (say) a lot, I’ll card him” but if it’s Blue 1, Blue 2, Blue 1, Blue 3, Blue 2 etc. at scrum time with a good mix of Red # in there too, they might not call it;
      c) Depending on the ref, they might say “well the laws say I have to give a penalty, but given the underfoot conditions, I won’t go further.

      It could be he was just bad – we’ve certainly seen some of that recently too, but sometimes other things play into the decision making process that, however begrudgingly when it goes against our side, we’d have to admit we’d like if we supported the other side and we might accept as sensible if we were neutrals.

      • Tomthusiasm

        To me, the reds played some dumb rugby. Absolute scrum dominance but would always kick for touch after winning a penalty, how’s the ref gonna card the opposition if you don’t pack down again and again? Also woeful discipline, reminiscent of the Sunwolves game. The blues weren’t anything flash either, but the reds seem to be their own worst enemy.

        • Like I said, I didn’t see the game. But pack down again certainly encourages the ref to think about cards if your scrum is that dominant. You tend to build up a string of penalties quickly.

          There can be an argument, especially if the handling conditions are poor or you’re giving up a lot of penalties too, to go for territory – if we spill the ball or get penalised, they can’t run from turnover and score easily or kick the points. You might also believe, wrongly according to the match report, that scrum dominance will lead to line out dominance and you can set up either driving mauls to score tries or strike plays – which doesn’t necessarily mean scoring on first phase play in my mind, but scoring within 5 phases, where you can realistically set that up and say it’s still a play off the line out or the scrum or whatever.

          However, the Reds are still a team that is building into Thorn’s vision of how to play. They’re also lacking experience in some key positions. The coaching team has worked wonders in a lot of places but they are going to make dumb decisions as a team. That comes with time and experience, both individually and a group. The thing to do is not to look at how they do in an individual game, however hard that is, it’s to see if they repeat the same mistakes in later games. If they don’t, if they’re improving (and from what I see even if the results aren’t there yet, the strategic mistakes are different and fewer, even if some of the individual skill errors are still higher than I’d like) then that’s promising for next season when they’ll be that more coherent, experienced. And hopefully there won’t be fun and games with QC and the like to disrupt things during the preseason.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Ben Skeet is an embarrassment. Pulls up innocuous things and misses important ones. He seems to love the sound of his own voice too much. I didn’t think much of the referee either. Far too much uncharacteristic indecision and he should have YC the Blues front row. Glad for the win and I think the Blues deserved it as they made (slightly) less mistakes than the Reds. Not a good display by either team though TBH.

    • Fatflanker

      The TMO really does need to be put ‘back in his box’ and to input only when called upon by the ref. TMO activism is killing the spectacle.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yep. Only involved in foul play or if asked by the referee.

        • Nutta

          Yeh but only proper foul play. Proper acts of skullduggery. Not the bullshit we are currently seeing.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah that’s what I meant mate. A lot of this isn’t foul play

  • Jamie Miller

    I made this point in my piece on refereeing in the Ireland series but… In the 43rd minute, the Blues replaced their loosehead prop. By that stage, the Reds had suffered two yellowcards for tackles that put nobody in any danger whatsoever (though both were stupid and reckless), and had won 4 scrum penalties and three maul penalties. The Blues simply couldn’t deal with the Reds in tight, and there should have been one YC in each area for repeated offences.

  • first time long time

    I spotted both the Reds card offences as they happened in real time and immediately thought “whoops that’ll be a yellow” not cause I thought it should, because it is the new norm in the bizarro world that is rugby at present.

    Professional rugby is spiralling into an irreparable state as an entertainment product.
    Ignoring the TMOs intrusions, the Ireland test series is the exception that proves the rule.

    I played rugby for 30yrs and have been watching for 40, I’m a longstanding reds member embarrassingly paying over $900 a year for 2 platinum memberships, my business is a minor sponsor of the Reds…….
    And yet I have no idea who they are targeting this product at, cause it sure as shit ain’t me.

    I hear commentators say, even last night ‘I know we want mums to feel that their kids will be safe while playing rugby…’
    I have no problem with cracking down on foul play but you cannot remove risk from the equation.
    I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of injuries occur from completely legal incidents eg. ankles, knees, shoulders, broken bones and head knocks from bad tackling technique. You have to be comfortable with the risk of injury and practise and train accordingly, or don’t play.

    I don’t feel that either of the Reds carding incidents could be deemed foul play and therefore could be dealt with after the game if further sanctions were necessary.

    Slowly but surely, I am giving up on super rugby.
    Back to cub games for my rugby fix I think.

    • Brisneyland Local

      FTLT. Mate I am in the same boat. I have been a Reds Family Platinum member for 15 years. Not this year. One of the Companies I own used to be a minor sponsor of the Reds. Not any more. I am over their crap. I want BT to suceed, but the Reds are becoming like the Wallabies Diamonds and stone. But certainly more stone. Hamish Stewart is shit in attack at the moment. He is too young, and hasnt been mentored properly. Tongan Thor, is fantastic, but needs to dial down his agression. BT needs to drive this but isnt. He cant stand there and have canniptions about it he has to do something.

      • first time long time

        Mate I think part of Tupou’s issue is that he is soooo conspicuous, there aren’t many 5’10” 130kg wrecking balls running around, doing the things he does. Eg if it was someone Sorovi’s size that made that tackle, in exactly the same manor that Tupou was binned for, I speculate that it would not have drawn any attention.
        I love the way Tupou is playing, he is killing it in his primary role (some other wallabies could take note) and really adding impact around the park and dare I say a bit of fear factor for oppositions. Keep the aggression, I think it’s a bit more ring craft that he needs and hopefully he can soak that up from BT.

        • Brisneyland Local

          You could be right. I am just worried that in the end he will become the target of unwarranted ref attention!

        • onlinesideline

          like the Samoans basically. He needs to learn the PC of the rugby field unfortuantly. But hes not stupid. He’ll get it.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I am sure he will! He is a great find, and has the potential to be one of the great forwards of our time. I so hope he is!

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          I don’t think he needs to adjust anything. That was a perfectly legal tackle attempt, and a terrible ref decision. Just one of those unlucky calls.

    • paul

      “And yet I have no idea who they are targeting this product at, cause it sure as shit ain’t me.”

      Yep, that sums it up.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I am with you. The sport is a collision sport and that automatically means there will be times the contact won’t be completely correct and people might get hurt. TBH I’m glad they’ve removed a lot of the issues that were causing broken necks and the like. One of my mates had his brother paralysed in a scrum incident about 30 years ago and that wasn’t good but they’ve stopped that.
      The tackle below the shoulder is also a good move and will prevent unnecessary injury. By and large, except at some club levels they’ve got rid of the thugs that were just going out to hurt someone and in the main the game is much better than it was. Yeah there are always helicopter mums going on about their poor little boy, but you know what, in most cases the boy loves and if he doesn’t; that’s what soccer is for.
      I believe it has gone too far and is not making the game safer it’s actually creating more issues as people become indecisive and make dumb decisions because they are more worried about the referee interpretation instead of just playing the game. Friggen stupid

      • Parker

        Yes. With this latest excessive obsession with safety that’s pulling the rug out from under rugby, how long will it be before they try to introduce pads and helmets?

    • Nutta

      The reason I always loved rugby was because it was the last of the body contact sports still fundamentally about the player. With te exception of lifting in the lineout, every law tweak etc has fundamentally been about creating a better/faster game to play.

      We are losing sight of this and it’s going to fundamentally both hurt and change the game into something I don’t recognise unless it is proactively stopped.

  • Brumby Runner

    One of the poorest games I’ve ever watched – maybe the most inept team performance by the Reds.

    Stewart was a mere passenger while he was on the field. Had just commented that he offered nothing to the team performance when Thorn replaced him. Probably had the same thought process.

    Kane Douglas looked completely disinterested at times, jogging alongside Blues attackers without even a hint that he might want to intervene.

    Thor was simply over the top with his aggression. Yellow card for a dangerous no arms grass cutting tackle and could have been carded for other indiscretions later in the game.

    Nabuli would have to be one of the weaker wingers in Aus rugby. His no attempt tackle as the Blues scored was just for appearances. He made no effort at all to stop the opposing player. Did he even make any metres all game with the ball?

    Higgers, George Smith and Tui all had reasonable games and Timu brought some go-forward when he came on, but overall nobody stood out for the Reds.

    • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

      I couldn’t see anything wrong with Thor’s tackle at all. Watch in slow mo and you can see both his arms are ahead of him attempting to use his arms in the tackle, but the player (No 2) next to the guy he tackled (No 3) had bound onto No 3, and because their hips had come together in the bind, Thor ducked his head lower so that he didn’t smash his head into No 2’s hip. And that’s what caused Thor to fail to bind properly onto the tackled player. There was nothing aggressive about it, nor was it a shoulder charge. Shouldn’t even have been a penalty. Rugby has become a pathetic little girl’s game with it’s overly cotton wool application of the laws. (1:08)

      • HK Red

        Totally agree, that was a bad call by the ref. Both arms wrapping, just one arm bounces off the attackers thigh. Given that Kaino’s dangerous blatant shoulder to higgers ribs was totally ignored! Isn’t that the shit the TMO should be calling back??? Not pointless technical infringements that have no bearing on the game.
        Our first yellow was weak, but totally correct. Aus players need to stop frigging lifting tackled players.

  • OnTheBurst


  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. Sitting here in my office at work on a Sat morning wondering what the fuck I am doing here, knowing full well that my “Get up and go has got up and left” I am reading my beloved rugby blog GAGR, instead of doing the work that I need to do. Alas! Here we go:
    – That was most dissapointing.
    – I am glad I am no longer a reds member (cant financially contribute to their delinquency anymore).
    – I am not going to complain about the reffing, whilst there were good and bad decisions. Nothing would have helped the Reds. But my desire for any degree of consistency is likely to remian unachievable.
    – Gee what the Reds would give for a world class 10. Fuck we have one of those! Yes i know he is injured. But for fuck sake! Thorn, swallow your pride and bring him back asap!
    – Tongan Thor needs to dial down his agression, but otherwise, what a monster!
    – BT you have a lot of work to do!

    • onlinesideline

      yeah its becoming ridiculous re BTs stubborness re Quade. His denial that it was not a grudge but rather different direction is looking weaker and weaker by the minute. Seasons helicopter view is that he’s blooded some good forwards but thats about it. How are things going to be better next year if there is no backline foundation being built this year ? Really sad to see the forwards grow and nothing done with the bloody ball. 4 bloody wins. Is he out of hs depth maybe ?

      • Brisneyland Local

        He is a forward so he understands that part very well. And being an AB he was nothing but served with exceptional backs. So maybe he is of the view that ‘backs’ just grow on trees. I dont think it is just his perceived ‘grudge’! I also think he is under riding instructions not to have QC back. There are people in QRU are letting it be known to people outside of QRU, that the are being pressured not to take him back.

        • onlinesideline

          you saying ppl in QRU DONT want QC back – who and why ffs ?

        • Brisneyland Local

          That is what I am hearing. There are a few that are sying that they are being told both by BT and by external sources (potentially RA) not to take him back. My source of this info is reasonably well placed. It is concerning.

        • HK Red

          It would make sense that RA say don’t give in, they want him to walk to another franchise for a smaller renegotiated contract.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep that way they are not on the hook for lots of $$$$. RA suck ass!

      • Waz_dog

        I’ll add to your mid-season review. QC had to pull many more rabbits out his hat (read high risk plays) because the forward pack he was behind is nowhere near as strong as the one BT has up and running. One could only imagine what QC could do behind this pack not needing to go to the high risk well as often as he had to previously.

        If Brad wants to keep his style of keeping it with the forwards, he really needs to scour the country and buy a crack shot kicker. Reds could have had a lot more success this year taking 3 points at will.

    • Adrian

      Agree totally BL
      Stewart isn’t one, and Cooper is.
      Perhaps now is the time.
      Another point is that Reds backline coach(s?) don’t really get it

      • Brisneyland Local

        That would be Tony McGhan the failed Melb Rebels coach! And yes you are right, he doesnt get it.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          McGahan has never got it. I actually think he’s the rock bringing the BT boat down. Just following on from the usual QLD process of finding a coach who failed at one franchise to bring in and fail at QLD. While BT struggles, the real issue is the bunch of myopic wankers running the show at QLD Rugby.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thats becasue McGhan is a product of Qld Rugby.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Jobs for the boys, no matter how embarrassingly, obviously useless they are.

        • Brisneyland Local

          They only ever look as far the QRU car park.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Work will always be there and at least this blog is medicine for the soul.
      Reds were shocking last night, they couldn’t have thrown more ball away if they tried. This may be a bit sacrosant but maybe Higgers and Smith aren’t leading as much as they could. Lot’s of ongoing silly mistakes that just aren’t going away and they should be able to stop that. I think that Tupou just needs to stop trying to be the hard man all the time and settle down. It’s almost as though he reads all these stories about himself and then tries to live them all the time. I’m hoping BT manages to calm him down so he can develop further.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah agree. I am worried Higgers and Smith arent doing much. They are good players, but there appears to be a total lack of leadership there! Not like the Wallabies where you have a Captain who isnt really the Capt, because genia and Poey are doing it.
        I am getting worried about BT’s tenure. Not how long it will last, but what he will do with it.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          I do wonder if QC would make a good captain too! He certainly knows how to lead the backs!

        • Brisneyland Local

          I would just be happy seeing back in the mix.

    • Happyman

      Hi BL

      Back online today I agree with all of your sentiments watch this for creativity I know it is against lesser opposition. It is nice to see what a creative flyhallf can do with front foot ball.

      You may need counselling.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Arghhhhh! Why did you show me that?
        What a sublime touch he has.

  • Adrian

    Now that BL has made (or not made) his point, backs ought to be:
    Duncan P
    Not sure??

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I wouldn’t have Kerevi at 13, he’s a much better 12

  • Nutta

    Thanks Ben.

    I agree with the cynicism about scrum advantage. Whats the point? Apparently Folou is a monster but consistently putting 16 necks in danger because one side can’t/wont scrum is fine.

    The Reds are simply clueless aren’t they? So much talent. So many strengths. But they cant hold the ball past phase 3 and cant execute fundamentals. Thankfully i am not Brad Thorn today…

    Congratulations Kaino.

  • Richard Patterson

    People here are entitled to all of their opinions – many are smart and well made. However, let’s not deflect away from the hard cold realities of last night which were sad and sobering… That was a game featuring two once marquee Super Rugby franchises. Two franchises with great history that for decades drove much of the innovation and success behind rugby in both Australia and New Zealand.

    Last night they played on a cold, but clear night in front of about 4,000 people at Eden Park and served up a display so lacking in basic skills and so littered with simple errors and poor discipline it was extremely tough to watch. A game that featured 21 handling errors and 29 missed tackles. A game with 27 penalties and free kicks and 4 yellow cards. Is this really what it has become for both the once great Queensland Reds and the Auckland Blues? Is it really now a case where trained professional players cannot execute very simple tasks like catch kick-off’s, catch passes, run straight, kick accurately? What I saw was a lot of players who are big and physical — but lack rugby intelligence. I saw a lot of players with cool haircuts, but uncool hands. I saw a lot of players with careful thought to their tattoos – but no thought on their decision making under pressure. I saw a lot of players running around trying to put shots on opposition players – but couldn’t position themselves correctly to execute basic open-field tackles. I saw a lot of players with flashy footwork — but couldn’t perform simple draw and pass ball skills. I saw a lot of players with a c’mon don’t be too tough on me attitude when in fact they should be marched into a meeting room and have the legacy of the jersey they represent properly explained to them.

    I hope the Reds can turn things around. They have a rookie head coach with a fine work ethic. They have a young squad with a sprinkling of quality veterans like George Smith. Can they develop that cold-blooded ruthlessness needed to win – especially the tight matches? Can their skills hold up under pressure? Can they devote as much time to rugby intelligence as they do to ripped biceps and tribal tattoos? Can they establish an environment in Queensland rugby that promotes standards, values – and with it winning?

    The Blues are a sorry case of bad standards, bad work ethic and too much mental softness. They can’t recruit because what talented NZ age-group player with All Black aspirations would want to go anywhere near the place? The talented kids in Auckland all want to get out. The talented kids outside Auckland don’t want to come. Ditto coaches. Auckland Rugby can’t sort rugby out in the Auckland region so how the hell is the flagship professional team supposed to be any good? Both are textbook cases of chronic administration ruining what were once blue-chip brands. We saw it last night. TMO Ben Skeen was the sideshow. The main event played out before our very eyes — with few watching and even more not even caring!

    • Nutta

      ‘Cool haircuts and uncool hands…’

      I’ll pay that.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      ab solely spot on mate. People can blame the players and the coaches all they want but the real issue lies with the bunch of myopic dickheads running the show who are slowly but surely killing off two fantastic franchises through mis-management, lack of strategic planning and self centred actions that do nothing for the regions they represent.

      I don’t think either Franchise will ever grow again until there is a major cleanup of the boards and managment that are running the game into the ground. Interestingly with the centralised NZRFU structure I’m surprised this is allowed to continue.

    • Fatflanker

      Comment of the season there Richard.

    • first time long time

      I agree wholeheartedly.
      What bugs me is that it still could have been a very exciting and competitive match between two very flawed (each in their own way) but reasonably well matched teams.
      As with many matches this year it was spoilt as a contest early on by the laws/interpretation of the laws.
      It doesn’t have to be the best teams in the world playing each other for it to be a fantastic game if rugby. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Qld and Auckland back to their best but in the meantime I’d happily take an entertaining competitive match.

    • idiot savant

      Agree about the haircuts. But hey, even Christian fundamentalists need an outlet to remind themselves they are individuals. The cold hard reality you speak of was that the Blues wanted it more and that their pack just dominated all the things that count. Brad hasn’t worked it out yet but the scrum is not one of those things that count. The Blues made an awful mess of the Reds ball in their defensive rucks and their line speed just gave the Reds youngsters no time to do anything. It was very noticeable how much deeper Lance stood when he went to 10 – to far greater effect. Brad has given the team the impression it was just his young halves who blew it when really it was how totally bossed his pack was that gave them the back foot ball that caused the real problem. And the replacement halves looked better because the Blues pack were more tired. Scott Young and Timu also helped but the real damage was done by a very passive forward pack in the first half.

      • Richard Patterson

        Very fair points. The evolution of this Reds team from Boys to Men will be an interesting development in 2019. They are glaringly weak in 2-3 critical positions and I sense these must get improved for them to improve as a side going forward.

  • Greg

    I am as guilty of it as many others…. but I don’t want to talk about the ref any more.


  • idiot savant

    I worry about Thorn. For the umpteenth time he has talked in is post match interview about how the game was played in his day. To say that in my day ‘you just drove blokes into the ground’ is both narcissistic and stupid. It is sad a grown adult man with responsibilities for his players, the franchise, all the supporters who effectively pay his extremely high wages, and for the future of the code, will draw attention to how tough he was in his day. Brad, is your whole life an exercise in getting people to say how great you are/were? Perhaps the QRU hasn’t had the guts to tell you Brad, but your job is to coach in the here and now. That’s what they pay you so handsomely for.

    How can you seriously expect officialdom and match day referees to adjudicate your side in the future now that you have made your position on encouraging players to ‘drive people into the ground’ public? Along with a host of previous public comments about how much you admire the head high tackle days at Marathon Stadium. If anyone at the QRU had either balls or brains they would haul you into their offices and carpet you. For a whole host of reasons not the least of which is that you are making it harder for the Reds to win, for the Reds community to support the team, and for the game to sound appealing to the parents of future generations. This is not nanny state stuff. Its just basic common sense. We all understand it’s a contact sport etc. But you, as a coach, should not be singing a hymn to the possibilities of injury or giving officials more reasons to keep penalising your sides. The stupidity of your public pronouncements about how tough you were and how much you admire football that injures people just beggars belief. Please do us all a favour and never mention how tough you were ever again again and start earning your salary by focussing on what it is you need to do to win more games.

    • Bernie Chan


  • Alister Smith

    I know a lot of Reds fans would be disappointed with the result and disappointed with the season to date, particularly after a promising start. While not a Reds supporter myself (don’t really have a team but geographically a NS Welshman) I think there is a lot to be encouraged by from the Reds this year and I am not as down on the coach as others.

    The forward play, the individual growth in some of the young forwards, the overall attitude of players has impressed me at times. It is a young side and an inconsistent one – though it’s not necessarily the young players who should be blamed for the inconsistencies – an experienced player like Kane Douglas seems to have been as inconsistent as some of the younger blokes.
    They have produced a number of players who have performed very well for the Wallabies this year. The management of Tupou, bringing him on gradually and giving him a well rounded game when there would have been a temptation to rush him and just benefit from his ball running has been a good thing. The set piece is excellent.
    There appear to be issues in the halves. A lot of people wanted Stewart to get a run towards the end of the year to give him experience. I personally think he has the skill set to be a top class 10 but it’s more than skills. He hasn’t got a lot of experience around him on the field and I am not sure where the Reds get that. Obviously there are a lot of QC fans who would point to his inclusion. I guess I have never been a particular fan but I don’t deny he is/has been a great player – but he is a unique player and if BT wants to develop a different sort of play and a different type of 10 he may not feel QC is the mentor he needs.
    I think the decision not to take Genia back has been critical. A rookie 10 like Stewart could have really benefitted from a smart half like Genia inside him. I think that still needs to be a recruiting target for the Reds – an experienced 9 and an experienced 12 that can both read a game and mentor Stewart. At just 19/20 yo he has a decade at the Reds if developed well.
    The two yellow cards were disappointing on the weekend but there was one positive out of each of them. Both young players, after being given the cards, immediately turned and ran from the field. No argument, no posturing and no slow walk off like we see occasionally in rugby union.
    In summary, while Friday night’s performance was poor I think there are some positive signs at the Reds. I am hoping they finish their season well and fight hard in those last two games. The NRC will give the younger playes some further room for growth and I think that they will come back next year, a more experienced and much improved side.

    • idiot savant

      I agree with a lot of this Alister. I also am pleased to see the Reds move on from QC. Ive seen him play brilliantly in short bursts usually only ever in the first 30 minutes but I haven’t seen him play 80 minutes of quality football for years.

      However I think we have seen enough this season of Thorn to see some considerable limitations – in game plans, selections, defensive structures, and breakdown play. The worst side in NZ just completely dominated the breakdown on Friday which is what caused the halves problems. The breakdown is much more important in modern rugby than the scrum. Thorns coaching has had no answer to quick ball movement all season. The Tahs jogged in tries out wide and the Sunwolves annihilated the Reds out wide. The Reds have only performed well against sides who have tried to take them on in the forwards and through the centre. DPA and Kerevi were arguably the most damaging centre pairing of all the Aust sides last year yet he abandoned that partnership for crash balling that simply dried up tries. These are not things that can be laid at the feet of young inexperienced players.

      And as for blooding, well almost all of the young talent was blooded under Stiles. And last years scrum was every bit as good as this years. In 2017 the Reds shunted the Tahs all over Suncorp. While Im still a Thorn supporter I think he needs to start applying the same exacting standards he requires from his players to himself. Better coaching is needed if the Reds are ever to threaten a NZ side. And he simply has to stop talking about how tough he was when he played the game.

      • Alister Smith

        Yes perhaps, as well as Stewart, Thorn needs to recognise he needs other support around him. That is a very good point. I have some limited coaching experience but I certainly performed better when I was able to recognise my limitations and get in guests to give me a hand and I had some very good mentors I could call.

        I think McGahan was probably installed, to some degree at least, for that purpose and, on the results alone it doesn’t suggest he is providing that (he is also the defensive coach and that is one of the areas you have identified as a weakness).

        Still I hope the stick with Thorn and that, as you suggest, he looks at where his own weaknesses are and lifts himself as he lifts the team. Past experience would suggest that if he takes the same approach to coaching as he did to playing that he will do that. I think they are a bit like Newcastle under Nathan Brown – its taking time to turn that ship around. I think they need to make maybe one or two astute purchases in the backs to give them a bit of experience (Folau at full back??) and game sense and bring in something in the coaching to address those deficiencies that you have identified.

        • idiot savant

          Yes I look forward to Thorn’s value adding measures in the post season break. Slipper, Hunt, QC, Smith, Douglas, Lance, and a few others will be gone. There will be some cash to bring experience in. And I hope he finds a new defence and attack coach.

Queensland Reds

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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