Reds v Brumbies - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Reds v Brumbies

Reds v Brumbies

The Queensland Reds have defeated the Brumbies 18-10 for their first win of 2018 in front of 11,034 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

The Reds overcame the suspensions of captain Scott Higginbotham and lock Lukhan Tui to showcase a fighting spirit absent from that organisation for years.

Queensland were held tryless through 80 minutes, but three penalty goals apiece to halves James Tuttle (10, 24, 57’) and Jono Lance (65, 71, 80’) were enough to eclipse the visiting Canberrans.

Brumbies try-scorers Joe Powell (30’) and Naisarani (75’) brought the Brumbies within five-points to ensure an exciting finish, but discipline would prove the Brumbies final undoing.

Another infringement, deep inside their 22, invited Lance to put the match to bed with a walk-off penalty goal to secure Queensland’s second consecutive win over the Brumbies.

Cheeky flyhalf Jono Lance kicked nine of Queensland's points.

Cheeky flyhalf Jono Lance kicked nine of Queensland’s points

The Queensland Reds scrum, with Wallaby prop Taniela Tupou and former Brumby JP Smith leading the charge, proved the difference in a battleground home opener.

The Tongan Thor’s impact throughout the match showcased exactly why the Tongan-born juggernaut was imported from Auckland schoolboy rugby in 2014, imposing his terrifying will upon the Brumbies early and often in attack and defence.

The home side played intelligent football through the opening half hour but were foiled by desperate scrambling defence from the Brumbies who repelled their buoyant opposition at every charge.

Josh Mann-Rea, Lachie McCaffrey and Joe Powell twice were involved in try-savings efforts, holding their hosts to just two penalty goals in the opening half hour.

That defensive fortitude paid off in the 30th minute as Joe Powell slipped through a gap from short range to score on second phase. Flyhalf Christian Lealiifano failed to convert but the Brumbies’ momentum was building steadily.

A 35th minute yellow card to No.8 Caleb Timu, Queensland’s third within three halves of football, swung momentum firmly back the way of the Brumbies, who trailed 6-5 at the break.

Queensland skipper James Slipper soon followed Timu to the bench, a result of an earlier injury rather than the referee’s whistle.


Neither side could find any rhythm to break the deadlock through an intense second half with the Queensland scrum the only weapon of note in play.

Brumbies blindside McCaffrey paid the price for getting caught in the wrong side of the ruck in the 57th minute as Tuttle kicked his third penalty goal of the night, taking the Reds to a 9-5 lead.

Flyhalf Jono Lance converted his first shot on goal in the 65th minute to capitalise on another dominant scrum, spearheaded by substitute tighthead JP Smith.

The Brumbies’ discipline continued to fray as the match wore on with Lance adding Queensland’s fourth penalty goal in the 71st minute to open up a 10-pt lead.

The Brumbies struck back through a Naisarani burst from the base of the scrum to claw back scores to 15-10 with five minutes remaining, but the Queensland Reds showed their mettle to ice the match upon full-time with Lance’s third penalty goal.

Queensland Reds 18 (Penalties: James Tuttle (3/3), Jono Lance (3/3) defeated Brumbies 10 (Tries: Joe Powell, Isireli Naisarani; Cons: Christian Lealiifano (0/1), Wharenui Hawera (0/1)


  • Brisneyland Local

    Well well well (three holes in the ground usually containing water). I’ll be buggered. that I didnt see coming. BL’s points in no particular order:
    – Good to see the baby Reds have the ability to grind it out and hang on.
    – Gee the Brumbies did everything possible to throw that one away. Their discipline was worse than the Reds.
    – Another yellow for another shoulder charge, holy crap bags batman.
    – Reds defence was pretty average, if they had been up against a team that wasnt screwing the pooch, they would have ben in serious trouble.
    – I think both teams need to go back to the drawing board on their game plans.
    Over to you GAGR’s.

    • Fatflanker

      Fair result, I thought. That yellow card was pretty soft – glad it didn’t turn the game. Not quite a man-shaming in the scrum for the Brums but not far off either – certainly didn’t see that coming.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah I know, if I were a betting down I would have lost money on that one! The yellowcould have gone either way i.e. Penlaty or yellow. But it looks like the referumps are going to police that one hard. The Reds should know better after last week, so it was still pretty stupid.

      • Gipetto

        The League fans around me in the Suncorp season ticket area could not believe it was even a penalty. JP Smith is immensely strong – best recruit for 2018. The Reds have a very competitive scrum but their goal-line organisation in defence is third rate.

    • sambo6

      As a reds fan, I think I would probably agree with many Neutrals who are saying it was a relatively low quality game. There is a long way to go for the Reds until they’re dynamic and threatening.


      In years gone past, we fans have berated the reds for not even being able to do the basics…hold on to the ball, kick your goals, find touch from a penalty, exert pressure where dominant (i.e. scrum)….and tonight we did all those things (for the most part)…wasnt flashy, and better teams will still cream us as it stands…but if we can keep composure and deliver those basics, then one would hope we can maintain the confidence to build off those foundations.

      All in all, i’d say my mood is ‘content’….for now…

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am now content, yesterday I was surprised!

    • Huw Tindall

      I think it compares somewhat to the Tahs result last week. Some obvious flaws to their game but they showed great attitude to stick with it and grind out a 0-2 tries win. The Tahs last week held on to be in it at the end and stole it. The celebrations of both sides show there is a good culture developing. It really means something to the playing group.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Lets hope so! The Reds and tarts desperately need to show something to their fan base for them to keep the faith!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      It wasn’t one I picked either. Recorded the game as I had a date night watching Red Sparrow – great movie by the way. Looking forward to catching this one this morning. Maybe Thorn is instilling some heart after all

      • Brisneyland Local

        Movie tip noted, I certainly like the cast aseembled.
        They ground it out and that shows heart, and that has always been what I knew Thorn would bring. Discipline is the other. But that isnt on display yet. Another yellow for the same thing!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah that yellow was stupid. He led into the hit with his shoulder and arm and that leaves the referee no choice. You can still hit with with the shoulder, just have your arm wide to grasp after the hit, not in tight for the hit

        • Brisneyland Local

          Especially after last week! They had been clearly warned. What disspointed me was Thorn’s comments afterwards. He is smarter than that!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Well you start to wonder with dumb comments like that. I just hope someone is telling the team to reign their shit in.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Lets hope so. BUt if the coach is sprouting shit like that I have to wonder!

        • onlinesideline

          Really its the side of the shoulder thats banned. Another way of saying what you correctly say is that leading with the top of shoulder is legal. A blokes arms will always be wide when driving in with front of shoulder and head down.

  • nmpcart

    At the game it was pretty tense and exciting, good to see the Reds hold on. The Brumbies were very cynical, lots of off the ball play, tackling players chasing kicks and high shots. Nabuli was very average for the Reds – for a big fast man he really doesn’t make much impact. I watched him chasing a kick where he just jogged and then stopped, giving the Brumbies player ample time to gather the ball and clear. Not sure what Thorn sees in him.

    I thought Lance did well, very involved and cleaned up a number of mistakes. Reds scrum was excellent. Can’t say the same about the on screen captions at the game – somehow every time Lance took a shot at goal (apart from the final one) the big screen said it was Ben Lucas, who wasn’t even playing. And the ground announcer managed to announces knock ons as penalties to the Reds – provided some amusement at least.

  • Jason

    Honestly, at this point I think the backs are the biggest thing holding us … back.

    And with that I think our biggest issue is our combinations and positions. I would like to see Toua brought on to the wing for Nabuli and Lance pushed back to 15. Lance stalls the attack any time he touches the ball. He really stops, catches the ball, looks, then passes by that time the defence has loaded up on Paia’aua or Kerevi. The best our backline looked was with Paia’aua playing that first receiver roll, or even with Kerevi getting it quickly. While I don’t think we’ll see Quade any time soon I do think it odd we are yet to see Stewart the kid looked really very impressive in the trials and was going toe to toe with Lance in the Fiji game but at nearly 20 years his younger has got to be worth a look.

    • Huw Tindall

      I agree. The backs seem to be lacking fluidity and combinations at this stage. Glimpses of talent but it’s one off plays like a big run from Kerevi or Feauai-Sautia (had to look up how to spell his name!). Put the Tahs backs behind the Reds pack and the team would go well. Plenty of big units and experience in the Reds pack veterans like Slipper.

      • Jason

        I’m really keen to see Daugunu given some burn at Super Rugby, he’s looked solid, not awesome like he did in NRC, but good.

        I get the impression Thorn is selecting mostly on experience and/or if a player has SR experience. He’s not been a quick to throw someone like Hockings or Wright into the pot as quickly as you’d expect given how much tallente they do have there. And that’s really interesting.

        On the Waratahs backline, I actually think our backline has the potential to be overall better (this season)!

        Tuttle isn’t going to be as good as Gordon this year.
        Let’s come back to 10, but Foley is clearly going to be superior to whoever you play here.
        Toua at 11 over Rona, as Toua has the more rounded game and can play that 2nd fullback role.
        Paia’aua isn’t going to exceed Beale but he can match him on a good night. Kerevi has it all over whoever the Waratahs want to play at 13.
        CFS would probably be able to match Kellaway.
        And Folau at 15 is brilliant, only Hunt would come close. But Lance could do a job of slowing him down.

        Regarding 10, I think if you bring in someone else (either Paia’aua or Stewart) you remove that bottleneck in the backline and you’ll get a lot more from the centers and then in turn the wings.

        I do think potentially Thorn might be wanting to look at a Paia’aua 10, Kerevi 12, CFS 13 backline. While I don’t think you get the most from Paia’aua at 10 (similarly to playing Beale at 10) he’s not really a 10 despite having all the skills needed to play 10. Honestly, while I’m not entirely disappointed in Lance he’s played well, I do think we need to examine our options at 10. Stewart would be my first best choice, Paia’aua likely second, maybe something crazy like Hunt could be worth a look; perhaps even if we want to go really crazy we could try the all time leading points scorer for the Reds at 10… But that would be crazy.

    • Gallagher

      Or quade, hunt and perese brought back. Duncan sub was bizarre, should have been Lance subbed to try unlock that backline.

      • Gareth

        I was under the impression Lance scored all of the reds points and helped win the game. Saved a try cleaning up at the back.
        Pais’aua needs to start running into gaps (he doesnt) and Kerevi needs to pass at least once a game.

        • Gallagher

          Well your impression is wrong, he didn’t score all the points, and every player helped win that game bar nabuli, Duncan doesn’t play his game if Lance can’t play the ten’s key role well, the teams lack of attack and not scoring tries just shows that clearly…

        • Gareth

          Your right he only kicked the ones that put the game out of reach from the brumbies. Still better than Quade.

        • Jason

          Lance had his moments, and honestly hasn’t been awful. My real concern with him is that Lance touches the ball the backline attack really stalls Lance takes too long with the ball in hand and isn’t creating holes for the players outside him. Think about when we had Quade at 10 or what Genia was doing for the Wallabies. With those guys they force the defence to do things. In the case of Genia he pulls defenders towards him forcing the 10 to load up on him. Quade was/is different he won’t pull defenders towards himself as much as Genia, but Quade looks at the defence and sees where the defenders are and because of his abilities normally forces the defence to send two to someone or in some other way pus the attacking player in a hole with the ball somehow finding its way into his hands.

          Lance doesn’t really do either of these things, he’s not taking the ball to the line quickly so his direct defender can slide wide pushing out to the next man (typically Paia’aua) and he isn’t as capable of seeing the defence and getting the ball to a guy who has a mismatch or is in a hole.
          The other issue I see with Lance is he isn’t making as good use of his kicking as I think Stewart would (or at least as Stewart has done at NRC and U20’s and could do at Super). Lance’s kicks are fine kicks but he often kicks at the wrong time not reading the defence well and putting the ball in a hole where the defence will be asked questions by it, instead he often puts a very safe but easily diffused kick in.

          The other thing is Lance isn’t the only kicker we have in our current 23, IMO the pecking order goes Tuttle, Stewart, Lance, Daugunu, Paia’aua. Even Paia’aua would be a serviceable kicker, you wouldn’t want him being your primary kicker but as a backup he’d be good enough.

          Finally, I’d like to point out the biggest issue we are going to have with Lance. He’s signed in Europe next season, so he’s only on a one year deal (I have no problem with him being on a one year contract) so ultimately we are going to need to find some way of replacing him for next year when we actually might have a good chance of actually having a really good team.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree with Lance, he’s really still and appears laboured and not flowing. I thought he gave the Brumbies a lot of time in defence

      • Jason

        Yeah, this is a really good way to describe what I was seeing. The flow — it just wasn’t right. The defence then had a lot of time to load up on the options he was going to pass to (that was painfully obvious too, I think I called like 10 of his options before he passed it while watching the game, and I’d had more than a few drinks).

        What do you think the solution is? I’m keen on bringing Stewart in as you can, but Paia’aua could be an option too (likely with a Kerevi+CFS center pairing).

  • McWarren

    Hopefully now a few of the home grown Reds critics will give this young team the time to develop the skills they obviously have.

    Well done Reds.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      The youngsters are really stepping up big time. Still pushing things a bit much but patience will come with experience

      • McWarren

        Exactly KRL. No one in there right mind expected the Reds to be contenders. We just want to see the youngsters get a good grounding from Thorn and the time to mature.

        My only concern is why hasn’t Stewart got a run yet?

  • Andy

    That’s as soft a yellow as I’ve seen. Refs need to fuck off and just ref soometimes. Stop trying to be bigger than the game.

  • Gareth

    Fair dinkum, went to the game last night and the blokes behind me and in front of me complained about the reds before the game, during the game and then after the game. One bloke stormed out before the end of the first half not to return. (they were winning and led until the final whistle.)

    I think people up here have forgotten how the love the game and enjoy themselves.

    THEY BLOODY WON – smile

    • Jack Mallick

      Similar happens at tahs games…deives me nuts.

      That’s the big cost of 2010-2012 and 2016-2017 where the team was calling it in and throwing games away. Even the win in 2014 and big seasons either side of it haven’t broken the expectation that the players give in rather than get in and fight.

      It’s going to be a long way back for Tahs and reds, big heart warming seasons back to back to back is the only way

  • Richard Patterson

    Credit to a young Reds team that was hopelessly outplayed the week before.

    Is there merit in the Reds returning to Ballymore for their home games? Who wins from 11,000 people inside a 52,000 seat stadium?

  • Brisneyland Local

    Mine were! They were really pissed. They had counted on the Reds being easy points in the bank.

    • Bernie Chan

      In terms of the bigger picture….seems the NZ sides are still some ways ahead of the Oz sides. Hard to appraise how the SA sides compare..a couple are stuttering but haven’t followed them enough to form a view.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah me Neither. But have watched most of the Kiwi games, and am convinced we are going to get spanked.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    The TMO was George Ayoub, about whom Knuckles once famously said “could referee Morocco and the All Blacks to a 12-all draw”. I’ve also heard George referred to as the Waratah’s 24th man due to his *cough* ‘sympathetic’ *cough* decisions during their matches.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Reds get some wins and play tough and the fans will come back.

ACT Brumbies

Nic is a freelance journalist who first tried his hand writing for Green & Gold Rugby as a schoolboy. Five years on, Nic is our resident expert on Brisbane’s local rugby scene not named RugbyReg. In April 2018 Nic releases his first book, the official biography of Waisale Serevi entitled 'Waisale Serevi: The King of Sevens'.

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