Reds break their Waratah hoodoo - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Reds break their Waratah hoodoo

Reds break their Waratah hoodoo

The first game of the revamped Super Rugby AU competition could have no more fitting opener with the Reds hosting the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium. With the crowd socially distanced, the footies hygienically cleaned and the players appropriately temperatured, it was game on in the new world of live sports.

First Half

The game started in an earie silence as the crowd not only seemingly adapted to, well, a crowd but also to actual rugby.  The action was predictable from the kick-off with a couple of dropped balls giving the Reds the first feed to a scrum.

And a dominant scrum it was earning the Reds an early penalty. It was noticeable that James O’Connor went for an early 50-22 kick, with the advantage, perhaps just to keep the Tah wingers hanging back in defence.

Michael Hooper put in the first big hit of the night as he smashed a Harry Wilson run in centre field. The young Reds 8 dropped the ball in the hit, and it was the Tah’s turn to have a scrum feed. The resultant scrum went down, and the penalty count was squared up at one apiece.

Robbie Abel had boasted the most accurate lineout stats of the previous Super Rugby comp, but he was astray this time and the throw went long. With Fraser McReight securing the loose ball, the Tahs were found to be offside and yet another penalty was called.

A superb Bryce Hegarty kick for touch put them in perfect position to set their attack. A clean lineout and a somewhat convoluted backline move provided enough second guessing in defence for Liam Wright to find a gap off a Tate McDermott pass to score a try.  Reds 7-0

Yet another penalty, for Hamish Stewart not rolling away in the tackle, provided the Tahs with the position.  Abel’s throw was on target this time and while it took the Tahs a little longer than one phase, they had the Reds struggling to defend around the ruck and it was soon tighthead Harry Johnson-Holmes who had burrowed over to score. 7 all.

The Tahs were the first to find real space as Jack Maddocks took a high ball under pressure. They took the ball wide and James Ramm was in space on the wing.  He was looking to set up young centre Joey Walton on the inside, but the pass went down. Perhaps a lack of combination evident early on.

The last thing the Reds needed, given recent squad departures, was for an injury to a lock.  Well it happened with Angus Blyth getting a head knock in a tackle allowing debutant Tuaina Taii Tualima to get an early, yet unexpected run.

A couple of Tah high tackles marched the Reds up field and gave them more quality territory with a lineout just 5m out. The lineout won, they tried to power over as the Tahs had done to them.  Strong defence on the likes of Taniela Tupou and Wilson kept the Reds at bay, but once James O’Connor found Filipo Daugunu out wide one on one, the try was never in doubt.  Reds 12-7

One of the Reds’ best in the original Super Rugby season, Hunter Paisami, took his time to get into the match. But a massive hit on Ramm about a quarter of the way into the match was a big moment.  The Reds piled into the ruck over young Ramm and the penalty was secured. Taniela Tupou barged over from the lineout but the try was disallowed as he was ruled to be offside at the ruck.

Tupou was giving poor old Angus Bell an absolute workover at the scrum. Apparently, the fans hate scrum resets, but the QLD crowd was loving the repeat packs as the Reds continued to dominate the visitors. Bell was ultimately yellow carded, somewhat unfortunately as he was let down by the rest of the pack.

Then, quick as flash, Tate McDermott took the quick tap and was over for a try. The Tahs pack was stuffed after the series of scrums and were clearly catching their breath as McDermott shaped to kick for touch.  He fooled them, and most of his own teammates, and stretch the QLD lead further. Reds  19-7

They got to catch their breath, and lessen the lead, when Will Harrison kicked a penalty soon after the restart. Reds 19-10

There wasn’t a lot of respite though.  While the Tahs stole a lineout, they turned over the ball in another big hit. McDermott found space and looked to be away. A try saving tackle by Jack Maddocks was quality and the Tahs looked to have turned the ball back over. However, it trickled over the try line and Liam Wright looked to have cunningly snaffled a try by falling on it.  He was ultimately ruled off-side and the frown was obvious despite his big bushy beard.

The Tahs would have been happy to get away with that, and happier still to close the gap a little further through another Harrison penalty right on half time.  Reds 19-13

Embed from Getty Images

Second Half

The Waratahs posed enough questions of the Reds’ defence in the first half to start questions being asked as to the impact of Peter Ryan’s departure from Ballymore.  It uncertainty remained in the early stages of the second half and the pressure came to points as Harrison kicked another. 19-16 Both teams started to look for space out wide in the early stages and it created many a heart in mouth moment.  For both teams.  Each team was able to secure turnovers while defending and break out down the field. But it was the Tahs who first took advantage when Jack Maddocks ran onto a lovely Lachie Swinton inside ball and found the Reds players social distancing to the extreme.  The match had well and truly swung the Waratahs’ way. NSW 23-19 However strongly the Reds started, they were starting to look far more a ramshackle mess in attack.  The quickness of the ruck was preventing them from setting up any real structure and their playmakers, in O’Connor, Stewart and Hegarty, couldn’t get their backline clicking.  The Waratahs, however, were starting to play with much more precision and intensity. The Reds had to simplify the game plan and so they did.  A penalty awarded, a kick to the line and a simple rolling maul was the go.  The Tahs kept them out while infringing occasionally, the Reds played repeated advantages and eventually Harry Wilson powered over for a crucial try. Reds 26-23 Tupou may have earned his team a one-man advantage in the first half, with his scrum dominance over Bell, he soon had a card of his own for a 2nd late tackle infringement.  It would leave his team down to 14 at a crucial time in the match and give the Tahs another three points. 26 all. Despite an off/pre-season seemingly made for goal kicking practise, and with Sir Dave Aldred in town, the Reds goal kicking was still a major concern.  Hegarty missed enough that could have sealed the game, so O’Connor was thrown the tee and got the ball through the posts.  Reds 29-26 The battle of the flankers was epic all night with Michael Hooper in everything and backed by the new ‘brick with eyes’ Swinton.  Wright and McReight were the only ones to secure turnovers however, and McReight snagged one at the most crucial of times, with just minutes to go in the game.  It corresponded with the time Tupou was back on the field and the Reds fans were feeling just a tad less nervous. Another breakdown penalty against the Tahs, this time when lock Tom Staniforth was unable to roll away, and the Reds were able to seal the match and claim their first victory over the Tahs since 2013.  Reds 32-26 The Reds would be relieved to get away with the win, but perhaps should be disappointed considering the start they made.  Their defensive system requires a fair bit of work.  The Waratahs will of course be disappointed with the loss but were very impressive at stages and can, for once, be the team that uses the ‘young team’ excuse. As for the rules, I reckon they sped the game up noticeably with the goal line drop fears, resulting in many counter attacks. Further the 50/22 & 22/50 kicks played a key role in the game with QLD particularly benefitting from some astute kicks.  The rucks seemed significantly quicker and I think attacking structures will take some time to adjust to this. A sniping, playmaking half such as McDermott has a lot to offer in this scenario. Next week the Waratahs host the return of the Force at the SCG on Saturday night, with the Reds taking on the Rebels at a yet to be determined Sydney ground on Friday. Embed from Getty Images

The Game Changer

While it looked like the Reds may race away with it early, the Tahs had the better of the encounter on each side of the break.  Late in the game they were hot on the attack and it was that Fraser McReight turnover that prevented any future chance for them to score. 


It could go to a few players from either team, with Swinton a strong candidate.  Instead I opted for Liam Wright who played hard on the ball all night, but also displayed calm and assured leadership throughout. .

Wallaby watch

You can only assume the slate is completely wiped clean so everyone starts afresh.  Hooper was fantastic for the Tahs, but Wright I reckon edged him for his more clinical play. Lachie Swinton was the other forward to catch the eye while Lukhan Salakai-Loto covers a hell of a lot of distance for a big man.  Maddocks looked a lot more assured from his preferred fullback position while I though Will Harrison played a better game at 10 than the experienced James O’Connor.

The Details

Crowd: 5,590

Score & Scorers

Reds: 32
Tries: Liam Wright 6’, Filipo Daugunu 18’,  Tate McDermott 29’, Harry Wilson 63’
Conversions: Bryce Hegarty 7’, 30’, 64’
Penalties: James O’Connor 75’, 80’
Waratahs: 26
Tries: Harry Johnson-Holmes 10’, Jack Maddocks 48
Conversions: Will Harrison 11’
Penalties: Will Harrison 34’, 40’, 43’, 49’, 68’


Angus Bell; Taniela Tupou

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Reg and good work on the quick write up. I found the game quite frustrating at times far too many random kicks from both teams that just gave the ball away with no pressure. I was screaming at the TV to just stop fucking kicking the ball away. Far too much of it was ill directed and achieved nothing.
    Some good play. Harrison is looking good but let down by others. Maddocks was good and showing that he’s got the goods. I thought Ned was poor and in general the Tahs forwards were outmuscled. More points scored than I thought but also as close as I thought it would be.
    I know I’m biased but I did think the skills were less than what we’ve seen in the NZ games.
    Great game though and so good to see rugby back here.

    • Brisneyland Local

      100% agree. The skills were significnatly poorer than the Kiwi games.

    • Crescent

      Agree the skill level vs the NZ teams is nowhere near the mark. Even comparing first round to first round, we still have a skill deficit.

      I thought the right team won – Qld were smarter at the right moments (McDermott’s try is a good example), both teams were willing and both have plenty of improvement still to find.

      Tupou looks very fit and has been working hard on his scrummaging in the COVID lay-off by the looks of him. I actually thought his yellow was a bit harsh – both late hits in real time were not super late, but let himself down in smarts after the first penalty.

      Maddocks made the most of his opportunity and Ramm also impressed me. I have said it before, and it has been stated here plenty of times by others – the forwards are too light and inexperienced and the Tahs will suffer accordingly. They are on a brutal learning curve until Penney can sign some quality in the right five.

      I liked Swinton’s application and passion. Someone should hit Hanigan in the head at training for a longer concussion lay-off so we can find another lock. I hear Rodda is available…..

      • Brumby Runner

        The difference in skill levels is being constantly being over-stated. Again, today’s game between the Chiefs and Hurricanes was fairly ordinary and I would contend not at the same level as the Brumbies/Rebels last night.

        • Crescent

          Brumbies v Rebels was a different kettle of fish – I agree. Reds v Tahs was another story.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Hahahaha I thought Rodda was banned from Australian rugby mate. Tupou annoys me. he is very good at times and shows a lot of promise but he seems caught up in the hard man status and always seems to be out to try and prove how tough he is. The really good tough players never do that because they don’t need to. He either has a confidence issue or a mutton head issue but either way until he loses it he will never reach his potential

  • nmpcart

    Given the difference in experience between the teams (Harrison has played maybe 3 games and is one of the veterans in the backline) it was a lot closer than expected. It bodes well for NSW but maybe not so much for the Reds – great loose forwards, scrum and halfback but aside from that?

    • OnTheBurst

      Yes the Reds look disjointed in the backs and didn’t offer much.

      Missing Isaac Lucas’s zip IMO. Dangunu is great when unleashed but otherwise it is all a bit pedestrian. Will need sorting if QLD are going to go anywhere in this comp, Brumbies won’t be quaking in their boots.

      • Twoilms

        Lucas could barely make the bench. He’s not what the Reds are missing. They just need to be better drilled. They have all the talent needed.

  • idiot savant

    Reg you are an impressive man. You got that great coverage up before the team hit the showers. Well done man.

    I predicted a Tahs win and nearly got to collect. I maintain the reds were lucky to win that game. Frankly I didnt think they were the better side. I think that game revealed what a colossal load of bulls*** the over hyped Reds and coaching staff are. Take the lineout. I have been saying repeatedly for 2 years now that Thorn, the line out coach, is stuck in a bygone era of line out coaching. How many times do they have to be humiliated in the line out and maul before a change is made? I lost count of the line out turnovers and their maul made 0 meters against a rookie Tahs pack. I have repeatedly said the Reds pack is slow and so it was tonight. The Reds played pick and go for multiple phases several times and made no impression on the Tahs.

    I also said Jason Gimore would make a big difference to the Tahs and boy did he ever. Their defence was much better structured and their effort to get off the line quickly so much better that the Reds backline was shut down. OConnor resotrted to the grubber late in the game knowing that there was nothing on offer out wide. They all stood too flat for one thing. But surely if the defensive coaching is any good, missing Ryan for a few coaching sessions wouldn’t make any difference. He’s been training them for over a year. Not in Gilmores class.

    Is it just me or do the Reds fancy themselves with out reason? Is this a result of the coaching style? Because that’s what it looked like.

    I cant agree with you Reg about Wright playing better than Swinton. Lachie played like a 6 tonight and if he keeps that up Wright will never play another test. He was a beast, huge workrate and many huge hits. It was a dominant performance. Wright was hard working but soft by comparison. McReight played like the rookie he is. Lots of good stuff but lots of mistakes as well. He will get better. I don’t think the Reds back row outplayed the tahs backrow at all. If Rennie is keeping score Swinton is currently in poll position for the Wallaby 6 jersey. And thats whats what I mean about the self congratulatory bubble this Reds side is in. Wallaby jerseys were on the line tonight and most of the Reds went to water, as they have for 7 years. Pasami, McDermott, LSL, and Tupou were the only Reds to really win their positions. Some others broke even but Maddocks, Harrison, Hooper, Swinton, Simmons, and Abel won their positions. O’Connor did not impress. He kicked too much because of the pressure and kicked poorly often. Thank goodness it wasn’t against a kiwi side as the turnovers would have killed the Reds.

    The Reds had much more experience and should have controlled that game. The tahs looked better coached, more skilled, more physical, and wanted it more. Im definitely backing them in the return fixture.

    • Happyman

      Phil Kearns how I did not realise you were posting on GAGR

      • idiot savant

        Well Ive got time on my hands now that my coup to take over RA failed.

        • Happyman

          Touché mate pure gold

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I’m thinking that JOC at 10 isn’t the best place for him. I’d like to see him one out and have someone else at 10. Tupou is playing himself out of a gold jersey by being a dick. Needs to stop trying to be the tough guy and just play

      • idiot savant

        Yes Tupou still has the odd brainfart. The thing is, he is quick and can get to players before they get rid of the pill sometimes. On the first one, I thought he was committed in time. Second one maybe he could have pulled out. Both looked borderline in real time not slow motion. But when youre that size all the back has to do is pretend to be a soccer player and a penalty will be given. Its probably not the percentage strategy.

        Not sure about JOC. He was great against the Jags at 10. He has a tendency to sit in the pocket too much and when the defence rushes him his options get closed down. I can barely remember Stewart getting the ball all game, certainly not from set piece.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Mate, that so called “committed” tag is a hard one to rule on. Players usually know if they will get there in time and can pull out when they won’t make it. Guys like Tupou need to be more aware and pull out if they won’t get there, not keep going and give away penalties.

    • I’m with you Idiot.
      The penalty count favoured the Reds two to one with penalties for high tackles that weren’t carried through and off sides by the Reds ignored.
      In the second half the Reds lost their shape while the Tahs are looking tidy with excellent defence. Toupo is a beast at scrum time and designed for front row.
      Bell was shattered but kept fronting up. Dont know why he was yellow carded.

      • Timbo

        For his card it was tupou who lost his bind. But Berry had already made up his mind and was going to penalise the Tahs regardless so Bell was the fall guy.

    • McWarren

      Sorry what was the score again. You are trying way too hard to talk up the tarts and diss the reds. What next a Kearns type cry baby whinge about the big baddy ref and the whole world is against us.

      Swindon played well and deserves the credit, as did Wright and Tupou.

      • idiot savant

        Never mentioned the ref. And Mac, I like the reds. And think they are capable of so much more. Hopefully that was a wake up call. I think Thorn gets too much of a free pass because everyone is scared of him. But there are weaknesses, like the line out, game day decisions, a befuddling approach to development of backs and attack strategy, and they were on show on Friday night.

        • McWarren

          Fair enough but that’s not what it read like too me. Honestly I thought the Reds were there own worst enemy but managed to overcome there inexperience, fight back and get the win. Things they have been beaten over the head with since about 2013. Now it’s nothing but criticism in spite of the win and this endless talking up the latest Tah wonder kids, who may one day turnout to live up to the hype. The Reds dominated the scrum but lost the line outs, possibly bc their no 1 and 3 locks buggered off not bc Thorn is a shit line out coach.

          I expected to look through the comments and see compliments too both teams with mention of their rustiness and youth. Both teams are young and both were rusty but in the end I was delighted watch some good old mongrelise come out of both teams. It all bodes well for Aussie rugby.

    • Hoppy

      Your assessment of swinton v Wright is way off the mark. Swinton should have been yellow carded for his 1st 2 ‘big hits’ – both of them shoulders and no arms involved. Lots of aggro and one good inside pass to Maddox and apart from that it was him doing his job and little more. Wright killed him on all stats and on the scoreboard. Wright is a leader – Swinton is a thug.

      • idiot savant

        Hmmm. Swinton made more tackles than Wright so worked just as hard. And his hits, legal or not, inspired his team and intimidated the reds. Rennie loves brutality and Im pretty sure if he keeps playing like that he’s a good chance of Wallaby selection. We need an enforcer.

        Having said that, I have always admired Wright and he is definitely a leader. Its just a shame his frame is so light.

    • Red Block

      For Reds fans, this was the worst part of the 2020 season closure, the Reds had been to Africa and Argentina, played the Brumbies and Crusaders away and narrowly lost to the Sharks (the best SA team). They were on track for a string of home games against weaker opposition but we’ll never know.
      The Tahs were impressive but it is always easy to lift for one game. It was the first real hit out for some weeks, so I’ll hold off making sweeping judgements just yet.
      However, if Hooper had played this close to the ball for the last few years, we north of the border, would have had little to complain about.

      • idiot savant

        Wise thoughts. I should have waited a day before posting…. I guess its frustration. The Reds should have been so much better than they were. Particularly after that start as you say and nearly beating the Crusaders. They didnt look like a side that could win Super rugby which is disappointing after all the work and turmoil of the last 3 years.

  • That felt like a game where no one really remembered how to play to me. There was some woeful defence, some aimless kicking and both lineouts and scrums to cringe about. There were a number of penalties under the new interpretations, but a number of really soft ones too that looked like players have just forgotten what to do and how to play.

    You might argue that the scrums were the result of a dominant Reds pack and another day, I might agree, but in the general mess of what was on display, I’m inclined to be harsh.

    There were some bright points. Harrison and Maddocks both looked sharper than their opposite numbers, and it’s nice to see Harrison in particular looking sharp. We’ll have to see how the other two go tomorrow, but he’s got to be in consideration for a G&G jersey this year on today’s performance, if he can keep it up.

    I didn’t hate any of the new laws. I don’t know I want to see them kept, and I don’t think any of the teams really executed them well (the Tahs defended them poorly) but I didn’t think any were terrible new impositions. But it’s early days yet.

    • Timbo

      Including Nic Berry who seemed to have forgotten the old laws. Like straight line outs.
      The 50/22 though is a joke.

      • I didn’t think Berry was as bad as the commentary team did, but I agree, he hardly covered himself in glory.

        The *aim* of the 50/22 is to try and have the defensive team drop extra players back to cover the sidelines on defence and make more holes for the attacking side, or to give them a kicking option that lets them carry on in attack. As an aim, I don’t mind that. The implementation is lacking. Look at NZ: they keep the 15 back anyway, they have a more defensive winger who is usually back anyway. They often drop the 10 out of the defensive line to cover. They’ve got their three defenders back to cover the sidelines and the middle of the park and they have a pretty solid defensive system. If this rule is ever adopted, everyone will try to copy to NZ (again) and we’ll be 10 years behind still…

        The aim is ok, the implementation is daft. So I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it either.

        • Ed

          I understand the intent of these kicking laws but imagine South Africa, England and Ireland playing under them. A far superior kicking game to what we Aussies can do and this would mean more attacking lineouts for them in their opponents 22.

        • While I agree, and I’d add Wales and often France and Scotland to that list, I don’t think WR will assess the new law on ‘but Australia are crap at that skill’ but more on how it opens up the defensive line.

          Of course, the fact the Aussie SR teams don’t really execute it, means they won’t change their defences for it, and the law will get dumped… at least potentially.

    • voodoo economics

      Can someone explain to me why the laws that we are playing in this professional elite competition are different to the laws every other professional elite Rugby Union competition uses.

      If I were to have a guess, would it be that the new laws are to ensure a faster free flowing form of rugby that will appeal to not only existing fans and increase the spectacle but attract many many more of those without any or just a passing interest in the game? And if I am close to being correct, wouldn’t the risk of maybe the rules confusing the hell out of player, viewer and referee resulting in the game coming across as a shambles plus the fact that when players play in other forms of Rugby such as Internationals they may find the adjustment somewhat awkward and thus possibly subtracting from their overall performance. Effectively requiring the negotiation of another not so well placed hurdle in the way of the Wallabies upcoming (dare I say it) rebuild. And perhaps relegating any comeback from 7th place from ASAP to a year or two down the track.

      I would prefer those making these decisions leave the gambling on the poker table. This is not the time to indulge fantasy. Just sayin.

      • The simple answer to that is no. No one can explain it.

        The wiser answer is that every year, WR produce some rules variations for testing. Normally these get tested in such melting pots as SA schoolboys and sometimes the ITM Cup in NZ. I’m guessing that because the SR Aotearoa and SR Australia competitions don’t have their normal weight, and there aren’t a lot of other competitions around right now, they’ve agreed to trial to these new “brain waves” to see how they go…

  • Nutta

    Cheers Reg. Very thorough.

    Great to see so much young blood in Yr1 of the Bill cycle. Yes there were lots of mistakes etc but the general talent, physicality and the willingness to play hard was fantastic.

    Qld did not establish convincing ownership of the game through superior set pieces. Sure they overpowered the NSW scrum but they didn’t turn it into decisive advantage. Need some maturity there.

    Swinton was my MOTM followed by Tate.

  • Huw Tindall

    Thanks Reg as always! However, if the Tahs have a scrum they win the match comfortably. In addition to the shambles where Bell got binned and Tate scored there was another telling scrum penalty in the Qld half which put the Reds back on attack and ended in Daugunu’s score. Outside that Tahs probably won most of the aspects of the game bar a few pilfers, and obviously the scoreboard! Tahs offensive ruck is still sh!te. The support players need to be closer/faster and clean outs more precise.

    Going through my usual starting XV best of:
    Front Row – all Reds
    Second Row – LSL/Simmons
    6 – Swinton (just)
    7 – McReight (just)
    8 – Wilson
    9 – Tate
    10 – Harrison
    11 – Daugunu (just)
    12 – Stewart (just)
    13 – Paisami
    14 – Ramm
    15 – Maddocks

    Tahs performed better than expected ultimately and Reds looking worryingly like they haven’t learnt how to keep the opposition under pressure and close out games. Still, Tahs haven’t sorted out a quality tight 5 and until they do they are destined to struggle against all teams including the Force, with all due respect to Twiggy’s boys! What I’d give for Kepu and Latu to still be around.

    How good was the agro with Swinton too. Put on some great hits and clearly has haaaaaart for days. Sweet pass back inside for Maddocks excellent set play try too. He’s really come on in leaps and bounds while Holloway and Dempsey have stalled at bit.

    All in all though a fun watch and f#ck am I glad to have rugby back!

    • idiot savant

      Good analysis Huw. I also thought the Tahs won most aspects of the game bar the scrum. It was nice to see Tupou get some pay in the scrum. Too often in the past referees (particularly the kiwis) have tried to target him as scrumming illegally. Which is crazy. When youre 135 kgs and have a short back and enormous leg power you dont have to break any rules. Both of his late shot penalties were borderline. Bell will be better for the experience. I think back to the bath Slipper got from Castrogiovanni early in his career which only made him better in the long run.

      Maddocks looks a natural fullback and Ive liked Ramm from the first time I saw him. The Tahs back 3 are only going to get better. Harrison has a beautiful long pass and looks to be a good decision maker. He easily had the better of OConnor though the Reds did not put him under as much pressure and he got his depth just right. On last nights showing the Tahs have a bright future.

    • Hoss

      Greetings from the colonies Huw. The most pleasing thing for me was the overall showing from ‘Gen Next’. Never in my memory have we had such dearth of young talent so seemingly available. Young, strong, raw and athletic – but with good rugby heads on their shoulders. Sure, many are the raw ingredients but Rennies arrival, Johnson’s savvy and a more substantially coaching base leaves me extremely enthused for the immediate future. I had foreseen the young Reds loosies as being the difference and as a collective they were.

      As an Oz rugby lover and a Tahs tragic I take solace in gods-own loss for the greater good for Oz rugby. So McWrieght, Wilson, Harrison, Harris, Tupou, Bell, HJH, Swinton, McDermott, Maddocks, Banks, Daugunu et all fill me with some optimism we’re previously only darkness and regret lurked, equal parts cursed and haunted by the shadows of Messengers Cheika and co.

      Viva the brave new dawn.

      • Keith Butler

        Seems like pedantic is today’s buzz word. Do you mean plethora rather than dearth?

        • Hoss

          I have no idea what I mean half the time, so why would I start now?

        • Keith Butler

          You’re right though. Loads of talent bodes a great future for the G&G if they get the selections right.

      • Huw Tindall

        It’s is always darkest before the dawn as the saying goes. Another 7 rounds of this plus a finals series should be the ideal platform to the youth to show their worth. It’s essentially a full tournament of Wallabies trials after all.

  • Brumby Runner

    Quite a few contradictory comments on the game by fans here, seemingly based on team allegiances. So, as a neutral, here is my take on the game.

    Reds were the better team especially in the first half, and the half time score really flattered the Tahs. The second half was a lot tighter, and closer on the scoreboard.

    Individually, the standout players were (in my order) Tate McDermott, Liam Wright and Jack Maddocks. Will Harrison outplayed JOC at No 10, but Will still has a lot of development to go to be test ready. His strength seems to be his running game. He didn’t set the game alight with either a kicking or passing game. Shades of a recent Tahs No 10 with the initials BF?

    JOC was disappointing at 10, I thought. He stunted any backline play by the Reds, much to the detriment of Hunter Paisami and Filipo Duagunu who both suffered from lack of opportunities. JOC was also pressured with his kicking game indicating that he is just a bit slow to decide what to do and to put it into action at No 10. 12 looks to be his spot, and I don’t think he will challenge Toomua for the Wallabies No 10.

    Swinton has been an under-rated player over the past couple of years. I always rated him and Darcy Swain as the top locking pair at the U20s WC, but both fell behind Blyth and Hockings for some reason unfathomable to me. But I have to say that I am not impressed with Swinton’s angry face efforts. He is a good player but wants to be the tough guy enforcer. Inclined to give away unnecessary penalties with some over the top play.

    Angus Bell again got found out at scrum time against stronger and more experienced scrummagers. He wasn’t a strong scrummager at U20s level, and is really struggling against the big boys. HJH was very impressive again, and it’s fair to say he will make it to the top in time.

    So, Reds deserved the win, but Tahs showed a lot of spirit and have some good up and coming players.

    • idiot savant

      Yeah you’re right about JOC. He didn’t seem to cope well with rush defence. In fact the Reds coaches didnt seem to have an answer for that strategy. Points victory to Penney and Gilmore. In previous games Stewart and JOC have swapped first receiver a bit. That didnt happen last night and I think it might have helped to change the dynamic.

      The worrying thing for the Reds was the Tahs looked to have more talent. They were just greener and less confident in the first half.

      • Brumby Runner

        Stewart at 10? Hard to know. His game was down last night too but that might have been due to JOC being tentative. But Stewart himself had a lot of time there in the past without great success. 10 could be the Reds Achilles heel this year.

        • idiot savant

          Im not sure Stewart did have a lot of time at 10. From memory he only started there 5 times the season before last and never more than twice in a row. I think they won 3 of the games he started at 10 including against the finalist Lions. He had 2 games at 10 at the start of last season against kiwi sides and both were close losses. No shame there. Harrison has now had 8 consecutive games at 10, mostly losses, but is starting to pay with confidence. Thats a marked difference in approaches to bringing a player on.

          Stewart had about 16 games at 10 at NRC level steering Qld country to 2 grand finals and winning one. And in both seasons his outside backs scored more tries than any other in the competition. I think its odd his super rugby opportunities have been so haphazard, not ideal for his confidence. I would love to know who is really running the backs at the Reds – Thorn or McKay – and what their thinking is. Theres been a lot of chopping and changing and different strategies.

      • Simon

        Pre Covid the Reds handled the rush defence by hard running by forwards combined with offloads and late passes at the line. It worked really well in bending the line getting the defence backpedalling.

        But the new ruck interpretations seem to make that difficult because there is much less time to clean out so they were hesitant to recycle it for 10+ phases. They still tried the late passing but skills were rusty so it wasn’t quite as effective.

        JOC was certainly more effective in looser play pre Covid. It was really clear last night how much the rush shut him down.

  • Simon

    Rusty from both sides, but I feel the Reds should have won that much more comfortably than they did. Reds lineout was woeful and undid nearly all the dominance they got from their scrum and dual opensides. I lost count of the number of lineouts they had in the Tahs red zone but I only remember twice they formed a proper maul and both went nowhere.

    The main problem I have with the new laws at this stage is that both sides are too afraid to build some phases. They kept going for 2 or 3 rucks then an aimless chip kick which gifted the ball back to the opposition 20m upfield. Another 3 rucks, another aimless chip kick. Almost none of them were regathered by the attacking team.

    So a rule change that’s intended to result in a quicker game mostly just resulted in a lack of attacking, running rugby. Hopefully that will improve as they adapt and learn to make kicks they have a reasonable chance of regathering. Attacking tactical kicking has been a massive weakness in Oz rugby for at least 5 years now (shown up repeatedly against England and the ABs) so maybe this season will drive some changes.

    Finally, Tupou needs to be banned from trying to charge down kicks. He was having issues getting penalised for it pre Covid and last night was just stupid. He’ll never manage to actually make the charge and 135kg slamming into an unprepared lightweight back like Harrison at pace is always going to look terrible.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well good morning GAGR’s. Wasn’t it great to have Australian rugby back on tv to watch, to add to the Kiwi rugby. I am in rugby heaven. Before I start my diatribe, I will just let the new additions to GAGR know, I am a NSW’elshman, who lives in Queensland and supports the Melb Rebels. As if my life wasn’t confusing enough! Any way my random thoughts whilst shaving,
    – The game is certainly quicker under the new rules.
    – The Australian teams skill levels are still shite compared to their Kiwi counterparts. Yes this is the first game back, but I am seeing lots of what I saw last year and that worries the shit out of me. I thought the covid break would have been enough time to work on skills, fitness, and decent game plans.
    – I found the game frustrating to watch, due to the poor skills and useless kicking by both teams (slightly more useless kicking by the Reds IMHO). Dropped balls, passes to no one etc etc. Very frustrating.
    – The Reds Scrum looked pretty strong. A couple of rounds down lets see if it stands its mark against the Brumbies pack.
    – The Tahs front three look piss weak really.
    – The Tahs won the battle of the Tens. Not sure if JOC had a shit night or was executing to a shit plan. But either way didn’t look as settled.
    – Tate McDermott certainly auditioned well for the back 9 Jersey to Nic White (based of some form of incumbency).
    – Hooper looked full of energy as usual, but didn’t secure a turnover, and struggled to clean out the Qld forwards. Other than being an energiser bunny and a talisman for his team, his role and effectiveness in it are questionable.
    – Qld line out was dog poo. From start to finish.
    – Qld still look like they don’t know how to close out a game. How, once they have their foot on the throat of the opponent to put them to the sword. That is a worrying sign.
    – The Tahs looked better in the second half, but really still look to light weight team. Lucky they don’t have to play the Kiwi teams this year or we would see some serious cricket scores.
    – Hannigan is a complete fuckwit still. Not only is he a crap player, the fact that everytime there was handbags at 10 paces, he thought he should have to run in from the side and try and show everyone what a big man he is, when he looks like a total fop!
    – Phil Kearns needs to be banned from commentary. He is an ocean going variety of tool.
    Anyway, despite that it was great to have Aussie Rugby back. Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Brendan Hume

      Disappointed I didn’t see the end of the game. I turned it off because I couldn’t listen to fucking Phil Kearns.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep bloody painful isnt it. Biased, inane, childish and churlish.

    • idiot savant

      Admire the way you call a spade a spade BL. Youre a big bloke. Ever done any line out coaching? Because the Reds sure need one.

      • Brisneyland Local

        No but used to smacked around by an ex-hooker (no, not one of those kind Hoss) coach who would lecture us on line outs. Basing all of his experience on throwing to one. Being 6’8″ in the lifting and non lifting era, I generally would be the reciver! But as far as coaching them goes, no experience. Get the call right, get the throw right, they arenerally work!
        But without Rodda, their line out blows dog. It was the same when Symmons left and went to the Tahs. I will give Rob one thing, he wont win the break down or contact or cleanout zone. But he was a line out whiz.

    • Keith Butler

      Afternoon BL. You just about covered every point. I’d just add that I would have been quite happy for The Reds to have lost this one solely because of the stupidity of a Tupou. He’s getting a reputation for late, some might say marginal hits and the refs will be watching him. I wonder how he would have felt had the reds lost. Similarly, Swinton also put in a decent shift but imo let himself down by gobbing off. He didn’t like it one bit when the curtesy was returned. Time for the pair of them to grow up a bit as they could be exceptional players.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep, I am a little concerned for Tupou. I am hoping Thorn and Rennie will start to temper that. His scrummaging and clean out and pick drive were really good. Just need to temper the attitudinal deficiencies.

  • laurence king

    Great read mare and well covered

  • McWarren

    Thanks Reg. Classic case of Reds playing badly and winning and Tahs playing to their potential and losing.

  • Rugby Truth

    Hooper had no turnovers, no effect when clearing out due to his inaccuracy.
    Completely outplayed by the both the Reds young backrow.

    And you wonder why the waratahs and wallabies have been abysmal in the last 6 years – not a coincidence.

    Wonder what will happen now with no Cheika to protect him.

    • Nutta

      Dude it doesn’t matter if he is good or bad. You can luv him or hate him. But be assured that with the amount of money spent on him plus the years left on his contract means he could be Andy in the wheelchair from Little Britain and they would still have to pick him or risk a another Folau scale public and cash debacle. The powers that be cannot afford to NOT pick him.

      • Singapore Sling

        Do you really think Hooper would pull a stunt like that if he wasn’t picked?

        • Nutta

          I don’t think Hooper would amp it up at all. I don’t think he’s like that. But that said he wouldn’t have to either. The vipers nest that is the vested interests of Oz rugby atm would have their pocket-journo’s spin it up faster than Trump can trigger a Dem.

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