REVIEW: Reds v. Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

REVIEW: Reds v. Rebels

REVIEW: Reds v. Rebels

This match was highly anticipated due to the direct match up of the Wallaby 10, James O’Connor, and the player many were saying should have been, Quade Cooper. It was also Scott Higginbotham’s first game at the venue since moving South.

The Match

JO'C receives a pass

JO’C receives a pass

The Rebels got the first points when James O’Connor kicked a penalty goal. These were clearly both teams’ tactics and three-pointers were the only points to come out of the first ten minutes. The kicking duel clearly being won early by the Rebels as the Reds were starved of possession and territory.

It took until just after the ten minute mark for a game to break out, and it came from a kick. Ben Tapuai putting a grubber through after noticing there was no fullback. The Rebels secured the kick, but it put the Reds deep into Rebels territory. They camped there until earning a penalty, which Quade Cooper took and leveled the points at three all.

The game degenerated into hangbags 21 minutes in, with the two opensides throwing a couple each. Beau Robinson threw the first punches on camera and for his troubles he was rewarded with a ten minute rest. With the Rebels enjoying an extra man it was all there for them to do.

The Rebels wasted no time and went straight onto the attack, with Cadeyrn Neville barging over the line before being held up. The Reds camped out on their line, defending stoically through scrum after scrum. This played into the Reds’ hands as they were keen to wind down the clock with a player in the bin.

Eventually it cleared the scrum and a loose pass from O’Connor to Inman was collect by Anthony Faingaa and kicked down field, relieving the pressure. the Rebels secured the ball again, but the Reds had their tails in the air. James O’Connor lost the ball in contact and the Reds turned it over, playing with advantage, Will Genia box kicked and on the return Rory Sidey threw a pass that Luke Morahan intercepted to run in under the post. Quade Cooper added the extras. Beau Robinson returned to the field with the Reds leading 10-3.

Perhaps he was not bringing them any luck. The Reds kicked the ball out after taking it back into the 22 giving the Rebels some field position. They wasted no time and showed great enthusiasm with Scott Fuglistaller charging down a kick that took an eternity to get to Quade’s boot and scored the try. James O’Connor added the extras and it was back drawn, at 10 all.

The Reds worked their way back down to the right end of the field and slotted a drop goal to give the Reds the lead, and it looked all they had to do was wind the clock down before half time. The Rebels had other ideas, with Rory Sidey making up for the intercept he threw charging down another slow Quade Cooper kick to put regather and put the ball down under the posts. James O’Connor added the extras and the teams went to the sheds with the visitors leading 17-13.

The Rebels continued where they left off, earning a penalty straight in front, James O’Connor converting it to extend the lead to 20-13, three minutes into the half.

Other than a Quade Cooper miss, there was no more scoring opportunities until the Rebels were penalised for a trip on Saia Faingaa. The Reds too a lineout five metres out from the line. James Horwill took the ball down and they set a maul, driving the ball over for the try to Jake Shatz.

Play was stopped for the referee to look for some foul play in the melee, eventually a penalty was awarded to the Rebels on half way. The break must have put Quade off, with him missing the conversion making the score 20-18. The Rebels took a shot at goal from halfway, with Jason Woodward getting the distance but not the direction. Shortly after the Reds were awarded another penalty, Quade again lined it up, this time he didn’t miss and the Reds were in the lead again, 21-20 with 15 minutes to go.

Quade then stepped up. With the game in balance he did a pick and go and despite the traffic, reached an arm out to put the ball down on the line. Mike Harris took the conversion and it sailed over the black dot. the Reds were taking control, leading 28-20 going into the last ten minutes.

The Reds spent the rest of the time chasing another try and a crucial competition bonus point. This paid off when the Reds were picking and driving on the Rebels line before Will Genia saw a gap wide on the blind and sent the ball to Ben Lucas who crossed untouched to put the ball down for a try. Mike Harris missed the conversion but it didn’t matter, the Reds winning the match 33-20

The Game Changer

Quade’s elasticman effort, reaching his mit out somehow to manage a try, right as the game was in the balance. He’s a big game player and he knew he needed to step up.


Jake Shatz. In what is becoming a typical day’s work for the young back rower, he was everywhere and tackling everything. Even dotting down at the back of the Maul to get his name on the scorers sheet.

Wallaby watch

Hugh Pyle and Scott Higginbotham both left the field with shoulder issues, Higger’s looking particularly bad. Nick Phipps made a last ditch attempt to show he was worthy of the Wallaby squad final 6.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Home Team: Reds 33
Tries: Morahan, Shatz, Cooper, Lucas
Conversions: Cooper 1/2, Harris 1/1
Penalties: Cooper 2/3
Drop Goal: Cooper 1/1

Away Team: Rebels 20
Tries: Fuglistaller, Sidey
Conversions: O’Connor 2/2
Penalties: O’Connor 2/2
  • Jay sus.
    I sure hope Higgers is ok, he has been amazing this season and if we lose him it will be another massive loss.

    A real jekyll and hyde performance from Quade, nothing seemed to go right for him apart from his well taken try. Based on the saffa tour and tonights performance i dont think Deans will select him in the 6..

    I also thought Phipps had a good game but Genia and White are really lightyears ahead of him or Burgess, it would be criminal if either are selected ahead of Brumbie 9

  • stuartfaz

    Rebels did well. Lost a bit of their pep when Higgers and Pyle went off but kept themselves in the game until the end. Probably deserved a point but couldn’t hold the Reds at the end.

    They’ve come a long way from the team I saw pummeled 53-3 against the Reds at Suncorp in 2011.

    Not sure about Quade, we saw the best and worst of him tonight. His kicking was atrocious but that try was brilliant.

  • Jimmy

    Quade was terrible. Without Quade playing the Rebels wouldn’t have been anywhere near the Reds. A lot of people say his game is over analysed but seriously how do you expect not to analysed a game where the 10 gave away 14 direct points ot the opposition.

    O’Connor made him look stupid at times.

    • Bernt

      Have to admit Quade was terrible with those two clearing kicks, but besides that he directed play pretty well I think.
      Wasn’t very impressed with O’Connor, he didn’t really put a foot wrong but he didn’t create much either. If someone made Cooper look stupid it wasn’t O’Connor, it was Cooper himself.

      • Jimmy

        There was more than two kicks – there was a thrid kicked straight into the arms of O’Connor. JOC looked more composed tonight. He didn’t do anything flashy but the Rebels were better served by him than the Reds were by Quade.

        • BloodRed

          OConnor didn’t do anything period. Didn’t control the game. Didn’t score a try. Didn’t set up a try. Didn’t make a line break. Didn’t create a line break. Didn’t defend in the frontline. Didn’t get a field goal. Didn’t win the game. Sounds like the perfect 10 for Deans game plan.

  • Dougall

    What was this that penalty kick for the Rebels right after Schatz’s try? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen.

    • Brackets

      Because there was a punch thrown by S Fiangaa after the try. Some nice cheap shots by a cpl of reds players, Beau is a disgrace. Always thought he was a thug.

      • Dougall

        I know that part, I have just never seen it work out the way it did

        • Brackets

          Oh ok. I have seen it once when a player slid in with his knees after his team mate scored. Not that common but has happened.

        • Gallagher

          Go QUADE! Swap JOC and Cooper over and the Rebels would have won that game, put it that way, he puts players in position to break lines and disorganise defense, he can position kick a team and keep them in their own half, like Carter or Berrick, O’Connor cant, Genia would have been stuck doing all the creaitivity with Occonnor next to him at ten, we will look like the unimaginative Lions if Deans slots Oconnor at 10, I rate the guy massivley, but at wing or inside centre surely is his best spot for the Wallabies!

      • RebelYell

        Fugli made first contact with Beau. It wasn’t a punch but there was something in it. Beau reacted badly, I agree, but unfortunately the camera angle on the ref replay didn’t show Fugli’s first move. If you watch the replay of the game, you will see it.

  • Pie Thrower

    Can anyone answer this question: why was Bieber defending at fullback most of the night?? I thought that was a no no in the eyes of the wallaby coach? Surely that rules him out of contention for 10 for the wallabies? :)

    • Stu

      Coming back from injury, protection to avoid further risk. Deans prob happy bout it, too many injuries this round!

  • Catchphrase Jones

    WTF? Quade was awful. He completely imploded. I don’t know how you could have a good word for him after that. Almost the worst player on the park.

    • Ian Daley

      He did the opposite of imploding. Yes he had a pretty crap run of things in the first half with the charge downs, but in the second half he came out composed and cool as a cucumber and helped steer the Reds to victory.

  • dave

    Quade wasn’t awful. Those two kicks were but really he played well. What did JOC do?

    • Roland Chan

      3 kicks. 2 for tries, one to to JOC, I think, on the full. Not good enough against the lions or ABs.

    • Jimmy

      I’m sorry but gifting an opposition 14 points is pretty awful. If you add up Quades contribution for the night he had a negative points balance which means he was one of the Rebels better players……I guess if you look at it from a Rebels point of view he played well.

      • dave

        one drop goal =3, two penalties =6, one conversion=2, one try =5. 3+6+2+5= 16. two chargedowns (one was unlucky) = 14 points. Simple arithmetic. This doesn’t really have that much to do with how he played I just wanted to let you know you’re wrong.

        • Jimmy

          So you have chosen to ignore the missed penalty kicks……a couple quite easy kicks among them. Whatever makes your equation work I guess.

        • BloodRed

          You’re choosing to ignore the win

    • RedAnt

      I haven’t watched a replay but I’m pretty sure the first charge-down came after Genia had to delay his pass because Phipps was being a lazy runner. I even thought the ref might penalise Phipps… so I think we can almost excuse QC for that one. Almost.

    • Pclifto

      Goes back to Steve’s point on this discussion board.

      The storyline remains the same. Quade mixed some diabolical, costly errors with some very silky game management and individual skills. Nothing new here!

      But again – put yourself in Deans’ mindset. Deans doesn’t want 50-50 plays that can leave the Wallabies horribly exposed and on the back foot. Chasing down deficits will be much more difficult against the BIL.

      Deans is probably still mentally scarred by Quade’s RWC 2011 meltdown. Deans will go for what he sees as a more stable option.

      • Davey

        So based on Joc’s performance last night that means relying on the opposition to give up charge down tries…..and still losing.

  • muppet

    That game was bad for Aus rugby on many levels.
    The Rebels are no longer a soft touch though, showing consistent ticker and creativity.

  • Dougall

    Technically Cooper created more tries for the Rebels than O’Connor did, Deans can’t overlook that stat!

  • Jeff

    Well Quade had a shocker tonight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play so bad. It’s almost like he knew Robbie was watching and he just didn’t care or he’s kind of saying ‘I don’t want to play under you!” A lot of venom in the game and the Rebels are certainly making it hard for the Aussie teams above them (suck eggs Jamie Joseph). I thought Phipps had a good game and really lifts his team mates. He’s someone I’ve never really rated but he really puts in and the Rebels should be sad to see him go.
    On the no-try (I think it was the Rebels…maybe Neville), why wasn’t the ref’s call ‘Give me any reason why I cannot award the try” like the Crusaders got. Double standards there methinks.

  • Wally

    Can any ref ouf there give an opinion on the Beau Robinson yellow? I expected a red cardbased on the replay.

  • Julian Brown

    Anyone got the Stats on head to head QUAAAAADE V BIEBER?? Love to know..

  • Steve

    I think the real news is more to do with Higgenbotham’s injury. I don’t how bad it is but I’d bet he’ll miss some time which is a big worry for the Wallabies. He was one of the best 2 or 3 Australian players heading into this week and will be a significant loss if he’s out for the Lions.

    I don’t understand all the chat around Cooper and O’Connor. It is the exact same storyline as it has always been. Cooper was the far better flyhalf (distributing the ball, creating opportunities and understanding and executing the game plan), but the two charge down tries were massive errors that put the reds under real pressure.

    Meanwhile O’Connor had a more polished game with fewer errors but couldn’t lead the Rebels from ten or create opportunities for his outside players. He carried the ball well and we able to step a few players in counter attack but showed he doesn’t have the distribution game to direct a back line at flyhalf. He showed why a lot people want him playing in the back 3 or inside centre.

    It’s the exact same as before the week began. If you like Quade you excuse the errors because you see he distributes the ball far better than his counterparts. If you don’t you accept O’Connor as best option as you can count on him to play low mistake rugby and he carries the ball well into contact. So cool it with the superlatives they’re just wasted words.

    • first time long time

      Agree totally,

      Quade stank in the first half but i was happy with his second half performance, which still wasn’t his best but I think it showed a new level of maturity in his game to pull it together after an awful first half that wasn’t there a couple of years ago.

      JOC just isn’t a flyhalf.
      Interesting to see Paul Culley comparing Carter v Cruden to justify JOC at 10. The first 2 play very different games but both know how to direct the team around the field, JOC does not.
      God help us if we are again picking players to fit into Robbie’s latest “game plan”
      We have a number of quality 10’spick one and play JOC in a position that suits him.

  • Jonathan

    Quade is a big game player? That’s a big call and if anything he is more of the opposite.

  • JBrizzle

    I was very impressed with the work of James Slipper last night. He was everywhere in broken play and showed his scrum prowess holding up his side when they were 7 men vs 8 in 5mins of scrums in the first half.

    Watching the Lions vs Barbars game last night, we could be in for a bit of trouble defending in midfield against Jamie Roberts. I didn’t realise his running game was as strong as it was, but worryingly his distribution is also top notch. We will need a dominant defender at 12 and hope that the No.8 can make it across field to help from the set piece. I don’t know if Palu will move well enough for this. Hooper/Gill will have their hands full trying to keep an eye on Mike Phillips running from the scrum base.

  • Julian Brown

    O`connor has now played 6 games at 10 for Rebels………. for ZERO wins.

  • ignoramus

    I’m pretty green when it comes to rules with the rolling maul, but is it not illegal for Horwill to dislodge from the front of the maul and then continue to run obstruction on the defence?

Melbourne Rebels

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

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