Match Review - Rebels v. Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Match Review – Rebels v. Reds

Match Review – Rebels v. Reds

A Rebels outfit missing Kurtley Beale faced a Reds team on a 2 game winning streak. Could the Rebels recover from the loss of one of their playmakers or will Queensland extend their 4-0 winning streak? The only thing certain was that the next 80 minutes would give us the answer.

The Match

The first ten minutes looked like most Australian derbies with the sides probing to see any weakness in the opposition. The scores were even with a penalty each.

The Reds dominated possession for the first 30 minutes of the game and converted it into points with a nice maul off a lineout deep in the Rebels 22. The forwards carted the ball to within a metre of the line and then swung it 2 passes for Tapuai to barge over in the 14 minute.

The Rebels held on grimly for most of the first half and finally got a little possession around the 35 minute mark. They worked the ball up field and found themselves with good ball in the Reds 22. A beautiful short ball from James O’Connor put Lachlan Mitchell through the  smallest of holes to score after the hooter. The Rebels took a well earned lead into half time. They lead 13-10

Best Buddies

Best Buddies

The second half started with a bang. Cooper freed up Ioane on the left wing. He charged down field attracting 3 defenders but was still able to slip a pass to Anthony Faingaa. He in turn passed to Frisby who charged to the line half a field away from where it all started. Cooper converts and the Reds take the lead again. Both teams had chances to score in the remainder of the half with Jono Lance coming with in millimetres for the Reds.

But both teams seemed more intent on trench warfare and open rugby, except for a few glimpses, was mostly forgotten. The Rebels were  showing clear intent in defence and disrupted a truck load of Queensland ball. But the Reds had a mountain of possession to play with and controlled most of the game.

Cooper slotted 2 more penalties in the second half to take the final score to a comfortable looking 23-13. But clearly it was anything but comfortable. The Rebels had come to play and we can only wonder what might have happened if Beale had taken his place alongside O’Connor.

The Game Changer

There were some big moments in this game. Digby Ioane’s run down his wing. Jono Lance’s almost try could have made a huge difference to the game.

But I can’t go past Ged Robinson’s penalty for rucking Albert Anae. The TMO was asked to look at the footage of the incident and after view a pretty innocuous bit of mountain climbing decide to reverse the ruck penalty awarded to the Rebels. Moments later the Reds were deep in Rebels territory and nearly scoring. The Rebels went from nearly kicking for goal to defending the goal line and never really recovered.


Higginbotham was, annoyingly, everywhere. James O’Connor had a great game a flyhalf in a beaten side setting up his player all over the park.

But I’m going to give my MOTM to Queensland’s halfback Nick Frisby. Playing in place of Ben Lucas, Frisby was everywhere allowing the obviously still hurting Lucas to have a well earned rest on the sideline.

Wallaby watch

James O’Connor looked the goods at flyhalf. He distributed a lot more while still looking dangerous with the ball. His opposite number Quade Cooper took another step forward this week and controlled long patches of the game. Higginbotham worked hard and looked menacing. Anthony Faingaa looks like he’s been playing all year. And finally Digby Ioane made his usual impressive metreage.

joc captain hill

Not happy Jan

The Details

Crowd: 13179 rabid Vics made a  lot of noise.

Score & Scorers

The Rebels: 13
Tries: Lachlan Mitchel (41:00)
Conversions: James O’Connor
Penalties: James O’Connor 2 (3:30, 27:30)

The Reds: 23
Tries: Ben Tapuai (14:50) Nick Frisby (41:00)
Conversions: Quade Cooper 2
Penalties: Quade Cooper 3 (1:20, 58:20, 79:00)

Cards & citings


  • Anthony

    Did anyone else see the quick lineout before the rebels first try where the winger passed it two metres inside the field of play?

    • I know the Ref did! He asked the assistant then let it go.

      • Anthony

        I couldnt believe it! had to rewind to make sure I saw it properly. Pretty poor from the touchie.

        • Me too! It didn’t really make a difference though.

        • Anthony

          As a Queenslander I like to think that it was the only reason they scored.

  • Stin

    Pretty sure this is the second time I’ve noticed this on GAGR, the Reds are 3 from 4…. They lost to the Brumbies in rd 1!

    • BloodRed

      If you’re referring to the Reds 4-0 record, that is games against the Rebels not results this season

      • Stin

        Of course. My apologies.

        • Sorry for the confusion Stin. Yes I was referring to the Reds record against the Rebels.

  • Patrick

    I agreed that the rucking penalty was harsh – he was after all on the wrong side of the bloody ruck, that penalty comes very close to a requirement to protect the player on the wrong side. IMHO that would be a disastrous move for rugby.

    I thought O’Connor was not that great. He missed 9 points with the boot, and he turned it over a couple of times trying to do too much himself. We had more passages of passes through the forwards than the backs!

    I also thought Digby had a fair schocker, he dropped about three balls (including, admittedly, one QC bullet over his head!).

    Most encouraging from the Rebels was that there was almost none of their traditional weakness out wide – QC did his utmost to exploit it but it was largely not there. Also Inman I thought (and I was really not a fan not long ago!) had a great game overall.

    I thought F Sautia and A Faingaa were much quieter than I expected, too, overall, I was glad to see the Rebels play well but the Reds didn’t look a lot like wallabies.

    • Brax

      Digby had a bllinder mate! Bullocking runs all over the field, set up that lovely try for Frisby with three great involvements in the lead up. Defense was sound. And Ant also played very very well. His usual tackling producing some turnover ball. And his involvement in the Frisby try was outstanding. He also made huge metres up the middle of the ruck to get them into good field position to produce that try.

      I sometimes wonder what more people expect from players, who were obviously good, or if they’re minds just don’t register what their eyes see.

      I am wondering why Lance didn’t just reach out with the ball to score that try, it was there for the taking.

      • Redsfan1

        I thought A. Faingaa had a great game & Ioane was good but still needs to learn to catch better.

        Cooper is just too loose. He tries 1% plays 99% of the time. Turns over too much ball. He’s weak. A backyard player not a professional.

  • bill

    much improved level of execution this week from both sides.

    Don’t often defend Ayoub but the penalty reversal was the right call, if Jed Robinson was unaware of his action’s there I’ve got a harbour bridge to sell you. It was niggly, but pretty unnecessary. Anae had absolutely nowhere to go and Robinson acted cheaply.


    Having said that I thought the rebels got away with one where Lance got grounded close , Ioane picks it up and the rebels player on the deck plays at him as he’s placin it. Even with Digby’s hands it’s hard not to see that as a penalty try.

    Best ball of the night was for Mitchell’s try.

    Easily Frisby’s most composed game for the reds.

    • Wallsy

      I thought that too initially, but watching the replay it was a Reds player who was trying to roll away that he collided with.

      • I agree. I thought it was Jono Lance’s arm in the way too.

  • pedant

    Please pick a tense and stick with it when writing your next article. The brumbies/reds article was much more coherent.

    • It gets done live and then needs changing afterwards

  • Brumby runner

    Can’t agree on O’Connor’s performance. Now starting to think that 10 will not be his position. Not only standing deep and then trying to do too much himself, but when he did pass (the pass to Mitchell was the exception) it was mostly well before the defensive line and the outside backs had nowhere to go. Rebels are better off with him at fullback.

    • Agree. He is a great player so looked dangerous at 10 with the ball in his hands more often. But a fly half needs to distribute, organise the backline and launch attacking players. O’Connor stands too deep and then runs across field. I still think 12 is his best position.

      • Patrick

        Agree, definitely went too often alone, and I don’t think he had a single second touch unlike (last week at least) both QC and KB.

  • The Rant

    have read a lot of comments positive about JOC? Don’t think quad had a great night by his standards but still any judge in boxing would score tonight 118-111

Melbourne Rebels

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

More in Melbourne Rebels