REVIEW: Reds v Highlanders - A miracle on Caxton St - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

REVIEW: Reds v Highlanders – A miracle on Caxton St

REVIEW: Reds v Highlanders – A miracle on Caxton St

The Reds hosted the Highlanders fresh from the bye and looking to get their season back on track.

OK, it’s well past season saving time, that horse has well and truly bolted. This ones all about pride. OK, there’s not much pride to be found in this season either. It’s actually all about Will. The grumpiest man in red does not like losing, if the boys drop this one he will be filthy.

The match

The centurion on the run.

The centurion on the run.

The Reds turned down a penalty, opting to go the line, signalling their intent to attack. This intent paid off when Curtis Browning went over for his first Super try, converted by Mike Harris. It came on the end of a period of sustained attack, the pressure eventually paid.

Lateral attack was the order of the day from there, the Highlanders doing the best to get across the advantage line. The Reds scrambling defence somehow managing to pull them up.

Another period of pressure from the Reds had them on attack in the Highlander’s 22. A poor Genia box kick was saved when Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga dropped the ball in goal and it was swooped on by Rod Davies for the Reds second try, Harris adding the extras.

It seemed the Reds were enjoying this try scoring activity. When they found themselves quickly back in the opposition 22 after the restart with freshly turned over ball, they spread it quickly before Will Genia put in a deft kick over the top, collected and beautifully finished by Dom Shipperley. Mike Harris converted to have the score at 21-0. There was no change to the score before half-time.

Second half

Reds v highlanders_140530_051The Half-time break was good to the visitors, and they came out hard. They turned down certain points when awarded a penalty right in front. Several phases after the scrum it looked like they’d butchered a certain try before Lima Sopoaga got the ball down. He converted his own try.

Not happy with this change in fortune, The Reds hit back. Earning only their second 4 try bonus point of the year, the Reds pack took it into their own hands and worked a cracking push over try from a 5 meter scrum. Jake Shatz getting the gong. Mike Harris continued his perfect night with the boot.

Showing they could do it too, though not with as much class as a pushover try. From the try they spread the ball and Sopoaga put in a grubber, straight into Genia’s leg. The ricochet was collect and quickly spread into Buckman’s hands and he crossed for another try (another try off the boot of Genia, I might add). Sopoaga added the extras.

In a move that will have the purists applauding, it was the 63rd minute and the Highlanders lined up the first penalty kick of the match. Replacement flyhalf Hayden Parker getting the points for the visitors to have the score 28-17

Not to be outdone, when the Reds were awarded a penalty on the 40 out, they also went for poles. Aussie Mike Harris making it look easy. 31-17 it was.

The Highlanders hit back with Ben Smith crossing for a try. In the lead up to the try, Fekitoa running a decoy line took out a Reds defender that gave the numbers for them to get across the line. That got the Reds all riled up and they hit the line hard, Shipperley coming close running a great line before Red 10, Cooper Ben Lucas threw a floating cut out pass that was collected by Osborne who went the length of the field before being chased down by rocket Rod Davies, who pulled him down but couldn’t stop him from getting the ball over the line. Hayden Parker converted it.

Reds v highlanders_140530_065

With only 7 points in it, the Highlanders came out hard. A penalty to the attacking team 5 metres out was quickly tapped and one phase later Fumiaki Tanaka jumped over the ruck to put the ball down. Hayden Parker evened it up with a minute to go.

As the players’ Sisters were puckering up, the Reds had different ideas. The team rallied and phase after phase they hit the line, slowly working their way down the right end of the field. Jake Shatz eventually getting over to the steal the game. Will Genia took the conversion and sealed off a perfect night by adding the extras and the Reds were off to enjoy a chicken dinner, taking the game 38-31.

Is there a mathematical chance of finals action???

The Game Changer

The Reds pack’s push over try. Who could not agree, it was a thing of beauty and is sure to have the crowds flocking back to Suncorp.


will genia profileIt was the Sanchez Genia show at Suncorp tonight.

Wallaby watch

Will Genia was having a whale of a game for his 100th. Two tries setup from the boot. The only thing that would make it better would be if he’d kick more. His box kick is sublime.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Reds 38
Tries: Browning, Davies, Shipperley, Shatz (2)
Conversions: Harris 4/4, Genia 1/1
Penalties: Harris 1/1
Highlanders 31
Tries: Sopoaga, Buckman, Osborne, Tanaka
Conversions: Sopoaga 2/2, Parker 2/2
Penalties: Parker 1/1

Cards & Citings


24 490 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

  • Piggy

    Simmons line out work was brilliant in first half, you’d swear he was calling the Highlanders line out as well… He’ll be pulling on the Gold 4…

    • Tom

      Horwill on the other hand was pretty awful.

      • Klaus

        I agree Horwill made mistakes, knock ons mainly. But in the first half he had great impact go offloads and ran well. Exactly what we need form a 5. Good to see people finally coming around on Simmons I have been a supporter on here for ever and was always critical of people’s criticism of him which there was plenty.

      • USARugger

        Rewatch the game if you can find the time.

        Handling errors stand out and Horwill had way too many tonight – can’t deny that.

        His carrying wasn’t particularly strong either.

        But he also got through an absolute mountain of work in tight and was a big factor in all of the quick ball we were getting. This, on top of dominating the opposition scrum and line out (heavily, heavily helped by Simmons at the line out, obviously)

        He didn’t look like he was going to stroke out during the halftime talk because he isn’t fit..

    • The Cheat

      Agreed, I’ve been critical of Simmons in the past but he worked hard tonight. no silly penalties and great line out work. Horwill was excess baggage and I can’t see him starting for the Wallabies. It’ll be Simmons and Jones for me with Skelton to add impact from the bench.

    • Bill

      I think Simmons may have sheepishly told Sapoago he’d dropped the game.

  • Reds123

    Actually pissed off the Reds played so well because I wanted to see Graham sacked! Haha

  • Pclifto

    Genia good tonight, kicks in midfield still a worry, most of them are aimless and suggest a lack of ideas / structure / faith in the game plan / dementia…

  • Lighthorse

    It was Patrick Osborne not Fekitoa, that scored the Intercept Try.Genia Converted at the end what game were you watching?

    • Steve Timms


      Typing and watching is hard. I’ll pick up my act, promise.

    • The Cheat

      Why did Genia convert that last kick and not Harris? Is there more to it or did Harris simply get a case of the CBF’s.

      Speaking of Harris, best I’ve seen him play in a long time straight after signing with the Rebels. I wonder how he’ll go against his new team in a few weeks time.

      • Piggy

        Genia’s 100th game.

      • With 2 tries from Genia kicks in the game, it would have been a brave man to deny him the shot at goal in his 100th game

  • Rj

    The half time cheer really summed up the season. For those not there, the roar from the crowd on half time was a moment of beauty. Reds fans showing their appreciation for their team really putting in. Well done boys.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Speaking as a Tahs fan, such demonstrations of support & passion make me extremely jealous.
      I may not like certain things about Red’s fans but their support & their love for their team is highly admirable, even when the chips are down. I dip me hat to you all.

    • Troy

      Also after the game, in our section at least, everyone their feet clapping! Nice to see. Guess everyone was just as relieved as I was with the ending..

  • skip

    I thought getting a crowd of 24,000 for a team that went into the game last on the log is really good.

    • Jenkss

      Great crowd!

  • Bill

    We knew we had backrowers that could kick, now we have 2nd rowers who can backheel.

  • Bill

    A triumph of Will? :) They looked a bit fragile early but grew into it.

  • Yabba88

    What is this word ‘loosing’??

    • Giles Gibbins

      Loosing: to relax ones grip, or loosen a knot.
      …did you mean losing?

  • Alan Grouse

    Mike Harris’ boot was fantastic. Think Greg Martin said he has not missed a single shot at goal in something like 16 attempts. Begs the question on why he wasn’t the Reds no.1 kicker all season (when fit of course)

    He had a good game also but the question is will his outstanding and reliable kicking see him return to the Wallaby fold and if so at what position and at who’s expense?

    • Klaus

      For me he offers similar attributes to Lilo. But if anything offers better defence and harder running.

      • Alan Grouse

        Yeah thats probably the only person he could replace, its hard to see him usurp any other of the regular players in the backline.

        I’d like to see him offer more than just his kicking though or even better, for one of our regular players to start kicking competently!

  • link

    I love the win, but lets be real here… what the flaming hell is Graham saying in the shed? whenever the guys come out after halftime they try their hardest to throw the game away. EVERY TIME.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    I have to admit that I found it a mix of enjoyable, terribly frustrating, confusing and exciting all tossed into a blender & whizzed for 80 long ones. How the hell could such a lead be eroded? After the 80 I was dead set certain that the Red’s would lose it on their line & regret not going for a simple (but effective) droppy to snatch a win. Then to back themselves & score the try I thought ‘ballsy’. Having Will convert on his century with the Reds I thought ‘nice touch’. Are the Reds back?

    • John Tynan

      Not back this season, BB, but if we can play like that for the rest of the season, playing the part of the pothole on the road to finals might see some fun games, including vs your mob.
      PS I would think a long suffering Waratahs fan wouldn’t have to ask how it was possible to lose the un-loseable? ;)

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Ha, fair play JT.
        Long suffering Waratahs fan. Me? You know, it all started a long time ago when I was advised to get a hobby. I decided masochism via would be interesting to try. Then which sport & then which team. Research said Rugby & the Waratahs was best for what I was looking for, and here I am. ;-^

  • cantab

    Great game to be at, that last kick by the highlanders was horrific, hats off to the reds.

  • Dave

    Mike Harris is a big loss for the Reds. Hasn’t missed a goal attempt this year, always makes gains in tight, solid pass, the odd line break and very reliable open play kicking. If he can sustain this form he might get recalled for the wallabies.

  • Klaus

    Amazing how well they go without a lazy winger in the starting team. How JJ stayed there for so long while Rocket was on the bench is mind boggling.

  • Grickles

    Fumiaki had a good game. I’m excited to see what he can do at the World Cup.

  • Giles Gibbins

    Will Sanchez’ great game be enough for him to wear the 9 next weekend?
    …imho he hasn’t been consistent enough this year but maybe if Link thinks he is on his way back into form…?

  • Robson

    Where did this performance come from? Watching the Reds last night was like watching something from earlier seasons. Defence came together and the forward effort was colossal. Especially evident in the scrums – mmmmm scrums.

  • Nutta


    Bloody Hell the Reds are hard to fathom. So much crap and just shite footy all year and yet they can pull a lineout and scrum performance like that out of their arse once the season is shot to pieces? Where in fks name has that primary ball performance been all fkn year? Especially your scrum as it’s been a dead-set embarrassment all year (all-but)

    Scrum & Lineout = Primary phase = Meat and Potatoes = You do that right and the gravy just comes and then bugger me you have a feed worth eating.

    Let me be really clear about this. I am no fan of Qld. I think you’re a mob of half-witted, irrational, uneducated, more-arse-than-class, 13-fingered, in-bred, sister shagging, Deliverence-Extra-Wannabe’s in desperate need of a kick in the arse, a smack in the mouth and a good wash. However you are a fundamental part of a healthy Oz & Wobbly rugby scene. As a nation we are weaker without you. So I begrudgingly wish you well because the enemy of my enemies is my friend.

    But Jezuz Lord Above you guys shite me. Your poor bloody coach must be just banging his head on the key-board. Can that poor bastard of a man make a workers comp claim for stress brought on by employee callousness and lack of application?

    I applaud your win. I congratulate Gins on his achievement even if he does still apply that crap box kick. I laud your scrum and lineout work from that game. However the sheer fact you showed you could perform like that, and yet you have served your employers, your fans and this country such shite footy all year just reinforces why I find your win actually embarrassing and I find the Reds so easy to despise.

    Go Rebs.

    • Matt James

      Yeah Fuck off.

    • Bill

      That surprises me Nutta, you know more about scrumming than I ever will but it’s been pretty obvious to me how much more solid the reds work at scrum has been this year. They’ve been better than most of the scrums they’ve faced, including the tahs and brumbies. They’ve had the odd bad scrum but mostly they’ve been vastly improved.

      • Nutta

        Fair call Bill. They have been better. And the core elements of their game have likewise been there. To be fair they have had a crap run of injuries to boot as well. I am just so frustrated with the inconsistency of their performances not only in itself, but for what it means to the national side. Oz rugby is strong when at least 2 of the 3 big provinces are strong. If we want to give the AB’s a nudge and set up a tilt at Bill we need the Big3 strong so we can settle some things in. Where we are now means the Reds need to ‘rebuild’ at least and that’s means instability for those around them as well. At a more local Qld level I find the calls to sack their coach difficult to fathom when the players demonstrate they are clearly capable of good footy when they decide to be. That’s not the coach – that’s immaturity amongst players who are supposed to be pros.

        • Bill

          Agreed. It’s been an interesting season. And I hope Quade has a good look at Lucas’s work on friday night. He good do worse than bring a bit more of that to his own game when gets back. It was pretty freaky seeing Lucas playing like a cattledog in defence…the defensive breakdown was so much better. 16 turnovers at halftime I think . Extraordinary.

  • Bill

    Kevira doesn’t look to have any pace, I was looking at him amble around and trying to think ‘was Tom Carter this slow? I think I can actually light red shifting off him or is that just the jersey?’ Unless that was an off night he’s going to get found out at 13.

  • Matthew Lalor

    Did you just suggest Genia kick more?

  • RubberLegs

    When Quade is on the field, the team cops out and gives him the pill too much. When Reds forwards, especially Gill, take the game by the scruff of the neck, they make ground and the backs get room. The reds pack has scored great grafting tries all season, Genia needs to keep out of the action for a few phases now and then so the experienced brutes can do their work. The seasoned and stronger Ben Lucas was excellent – he did the hard work and remained uninjured. Fekitoa should have got 10 in the bin for running in and shoulder charging a defender to the ground well away from the ball. Tony Fainga’a had a phenomenal work-rate and for weeks Richard Graham wouldn’t pick him. There was nothing lucky about Sanchez’ perfectly weighted end-over-end box kick over the head of Sopoaga.

Queensland Reds

Steve Timms, He likes watching the odd game of Rugby, occasionally writes about it.. Proud member of the original Mudchooks.

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