REVIEW: Waratahs v Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

REVIEW: Waratahs v Rebels

REVIEW: Waratahs v Rebels

Well, for the second week in a row I’m just gob-smacked. In the forums and on the blog no one predicted the game turning out like that. The only hint we got was that Gibson said they would go to the air more often this week.  “Ha-ha,” I said, “just a coach blowing smoke.” With the Rebels picking a huge pack I expected an unstoppable steamroller, but it turned out to be more of unstoppable will-o-the wisp’s.

The Match

FIRST HALF:

It was hot. Over 35 degrees hot. Not great weather for rugby. Play stopped midway through both halves to allow a drinks break and both teams needed it.

The Rebels started with great pressure and scored first from a Waratah gift. Folau collected the ball 5 metres out from his own line, passed too hard to Beale who couldn’t take it and English picked it up to score in the corner. Conversion missed. 5-0. The Waratahs had all the next period of play with some scintillating backline moves, but always the half-chances remained unconverted.

There were a couple of scrums in this period with honours even. Welcome back Kepu, but his calf injury was clearly troubling him. Dane Haylett-Petty put his head in the wrong place and got concussed. With only a five day turn-around I don’t think he’ll be back for the Sharks. Foley kicked a penalty for 5-3. The next “score” was turned over by the TMO. The Rebels had a period of excellent attack but Hodge knocked on over the line. Water-break.

Hodge missed a dubious penalty, then Genia had a brain-fart and picked up a Mafi knock-on from an offside position. Foley missed his first kick for the season so Peter Hewatt’s record of 18 in a row remains intact. There was a Waratah knock-on with the line open and Genia relieved pressure with a good touch finder. Then the Waratah’s turned it over to Debreczeni, who popped a pass off the deck to Mafi who ran 60 to score against the run of play. Try converted for 15-3.

Then the Waratahs overran the kick-off, the Rebels then had a long period of attack before Maddocks scored out wide. Unconverted but 20-3 and the game looked lost for Waratah mistakes rather than Rebel dominance. The Waratahs kept up the pressure, and in the 38th minute  Foketi did a very forgettable grubber that luckily went to Beale who passed to Fitzpatrick and then back to Foketi who scored. Foley converted for 20-10.

Tom English heads to the try line.

Tom English heads to the try line.

SECOND HALF:

Hanigan succumbed to injury at half time so Staniforth went on. There was a fully fledged kicking duel at the start of the half with honours- even. Then Beale bombed for Folau who flew and secured the ball, passed to Hooper, on to Foketi, then two long passes (Short and Beale) to Hegarty on the cut, pass to Fitzpatrick, on to Foley and inside to Simmons to score a great try. Converted for 17-20. The Waratahs went on the attack but a Foley knock-on stopped momentum. The Waratahs continued the pressure and Rona charged at the inside shoulder, passed to Mitch Short to score a try on his run-on debut. 24-20.

Then Big T came on to replace an injured Foketi. Debreczeni mucked up the kick-off, Waratahs attacked down Naiyaravoro’s wing and then across the field to the other. Waratah’s secured an offside penalty and kicked it for 27-20. Waratahs secured a penalty from the kick-off, line-out, three good phases and Hegarty scored a great try in the corner, converted for 34-20.

Foley then kicked a bomb for Folau to regather, passed infield, a quick ruck and Beale cross-kicked to Big T, passed to Rona, on to Holloway and back to Big T. Shut the gate. Converted for 41-20 and the Waratahs had scored 31 points in 20 minutes. Water-break.

The Rebels struck back with a good try to Philip from a Meakes offload to make it 41-27. Then Maddocks made a great run to the 22 but the Waratahs regathered, and went to the air again. Hodge dropped it, scrum. A late tackle on Foley by Philip resulted in a kickable penalty, 44-27. Then the Waratahs finished it off with a great converted try in the corner to Big T for a final score of 51-27.

No one predicted the manner of the win nor the margin. If you don’t put pressure on the Waratah game they can kill you in the blink of an eye, and today they did.

Waratahs v Rebels 2018 (1 of 2)

THE WARATAHS:

As assistant coach Chris Malone said, “The Waratahs tried to score off every phase in the first half.” They attacked well but a little mistake or turnover cost dearly.  In the second half some passes stuck, the Rebels lost intensity and “goodbye was all she wrote.”

Foketi’s been great, but surely Naiyaravoro must start against the Brumbies. Four touches, two tries is just overwhelming pressure. I don’t care if he’s going to England, if the Waratahs want to win a few this year he has to start at 13 or 14. The forwards broke even today, which was enough to secure the win, but harder questions will be asked, starting in a fortnight. Short and Snowden were both very good, we don’t want for good potential halfbacks. Hegarty did everything asked of him.

THE REBELS:

The bubble has burst and its back to reality for the Rebels. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sharks turned them over on Friday; today took a lot out of them, both physically and confidence-wise. They really lacked the intensity you expect from such a big pack of forwards and they do need to start Fainga’a or Hardwick at 7. They will miss Dane Haylett-Petty at the back next Friday, Hodge made too many mistakes that DHP would not have made had he stayed on the park. Mafi was excellent, but generally their stars were quiet.

IN SUMMARY:

This was a game in which the Waratahs finally “clicked”. They do have the ability to cut teams to pieces if other teams let them play. Early days, but the Waratah forwards have to find another gear and learn to dominate their opposites before they can be considered a real threat. The Rebels were shown up today, their team needs to find their mongrel again and put their opponents under pressure.

Rob Simmons walks it in.

Rob Simmons walks it in.


The Game Changer

A magic twenty minutes after half time when the Waratahs exploded and scored 31 points.

The G&GR MOTM

If Naiyaravoro had played 80 he would probably have got it but my MotM is Kurtley Beale. His play was just magic today.

Wallaby watch

Foley looked better this week, Folau was devastating on the right wing, Kepu’s back. Hodge made too many mistakes and Coleman and Philip were neutralised, as was Genia (its hard behind a beaten pack). Maddocks is on course to be a Wallaby, he has talent to burn.


The Details

Crowd: Looked very small on TV but on a sunny Sunday afternoon no one can sit in the eastern stand looking into the sun.

Score & Scorers

Waratahs 51
Tries: Naiyaravoro (2), Hegarty, Short, Simmons and Foketi
Conversions: Foley (6)
Penalties: Foley (3)
Rebels 27 
Tries: Philip, Maddocks, Mafi and English
Conversions: Hodge (2)
Penalties: Hodge (1)

Cards & citings

A remarkably quiet game.

  • Jason

    The Melbourne Rebels are flat track Bullies I’ve been saying since the Reds game, they only looked good once the Reds were reduced to 13 men. How a team responds to pressure shows you the true team. Some times that response isn’t the same as the result, but you can see into the team. If they fight they’ll be a much better team than if they capitulate. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Waratahs got lucky very lucky but when they did the Rebels stopped playing and revealed they are more Rebels than Force.

    On the other end of this spectrum you have the battered and beaten but largely unscathed Reds who’s defence reminded me of that famous game against Wales in the World Cup. They weren’t the better team by much, but fairly were, but when it got tough they dug in. Their 20 year old replacement flyhalf made the second most tackles in the game… playing only 40 minutes! I’m not saying the Reds are a better team than Melbourn (although we will see when they meet again), but they are a team with more character. They’ll struggle to beat oppositions, but they’ll not capitulate.

    • Adrian

      Melbourne will learn a lot from this I think.
      They’ll learn about keeping composure against an unconventional attack, and probably also learn to better use their attacking weapons when inside ball is cut-off.
      I don’t think they gave up, just became flummoxed.
      I’d like Melbourne to play Hodge or Maddocks at FB next week, and play both Naivalu and Korebette

    • Rebels3

      Don’t think you can read much into the game on those conditions. If anything they were tailor made for a Tahs team that would of taken it to any other team in the comp with them. The tahs are the lightest pack in the comp and it showed in the second half, they were quicker to the break down, ran the Rebels side to side and were making less errors. I’d go as far as saying the Tahs would of taken it to any team in the comp yesterday.

      What we saw was the Rebels dominate for the first 30 with their larger pack, then only gain some sort of parity in the last 20 when the subs were rolled out. The biggest difference was clearly at the selection table where Wessel’s got it horribly wrong and Gibson got it so right. Faingaa or Hardwick should of been out there for 80mins, the front row should of been rotate a lot earlier and the lack of a lock on the bench meant 2 of them played 80mins.

      Personally i would of gone Faulkner, Rangi, Ainsley, Coleman, Phillip, Tomani, Faingaa, Mafi with Hardwick coming on after 45-50 for Timani, RHP replacing Phillip or Coleman around the 50-55min mark, Front row also around the 50-55min mark and we have a very different game.

      Probably the first time in Wessels career he’s completely played his cards absolutely wrong and was very naive, hes a good coach tho and will learn from this. Hodge from 12 was also the wrong decision as he was winning the contact battle in defense and attack. Also taking Koroibete off when he should of been switched to match up against Folau on the wing for the aerial battle (used to taking or at least defusing high balls in the NRL).

  • Jason

    The Melbourne Rebels are flat track Bullies I’ve been saying since the Reds game, they only looked good once the Reds were reduced to 13 men. How a team responds to pressure shows you the true team. Some times that response isn’t the same as the result, but you can see into the team. If they fight they’ll be a much better team than if they capitulate. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Waratahs got lucky very lucky but when they did the Rebels stopped playing and revealed they are more Rebels than Force.

    On the other end of this spectrum you have the battered and beaten but largely unscathed Reds who’s defence reminded me of that famous game against Wales in the World Cup. They weren’t the better team by much, but fairly were, but when it got tough they dug in. Their 20 year old replacement flyhalf made the second most tackles in the game… playing only 40 minutes! I’m not saying the Reds are a better team than Melbourn (although we will see when they meet again), but they are a team with more character. They’ll struggle to beat oppositions, but they’ll not capitulate.

  • Huw Tindall

    Happy to admit I didn’t see this coming! Rejig of the backline looked to have worked. With Hegarty at 15 it’s almost a 3 play maker model. Suppose they’ll stick with this approach for a bit now with the only question being do you start TN or Rona. Both had good games although TN got the pies with his trademark human steaming roller efforts.

  • Huw Tindall

    What happened? Where did this come from? Most importantly I wonder how the Tahs pack turned it around to get parity with the heavily rated Melbourne pack. Kepu back is definitely handy and Simmons will get through work but then we are left with 4 loose back rowers and light weight front row. We knew with enough decent ball the backs can score plenty but it’s just good to finally see that!

  • Today I learnt that Reece Hodge is not a fullback. Losing HP totally changed the Rebels dynamic and exposed them to the kicking game.

    Meakes made the most of his opportunity!

    • Wessels got the reorganisation wrong when DHP went off. It should have been Maddocks to 15, Koroibete to switch wings onto Folau, Meekes to 12, Hodge to 13 and English to the other wing.

  • Ads

    Well done Tahs.
    1) Gibson deserves slack for continuing to recruit poorly, and select poorly. Why isn’t big T in the run on side when we so desperately need to get over the ad line? Why isn’t Rona at 13? Why is Robertson anywhere near the 15 let alone the wallabies?
    2) Gibson deserves some credit in that the D is better than it has been, and at least the buggers are fit and play the 80.
    3) I would be happy to replace Foley for the wallabies, but there isn’t really an obviously better option out there right now. Especially not when you factor in the need to have a place kicker in the side.
    4) The pooper should be dead with the number of better options at 6/8 running around. Let’s see how Pockock looks when he comes back.

    • Lester Spigot

      Who exactly are these “better options” at 6/8? We look really thin there at the moment, IMO. Plenty of hard workers, but very few dynamic athletes that can carry the ball effectively.

      • Braveheart81

        Caleb Timu should be in the Wallabies squad if he continues his current form but it’s hard to see Pocock and Hooper not being in our best two backrowers again and filling two of the starting spots.

        Until we have a 6, 7 and 8 who are as relatively good at their position as each other it’s hard to see us not continuing picking our best two backrowers (which last year was Hooper and McMahon) and then picking the third one who best complements them.

  • Chinese Dave

    Some random observations.
    1 the rebels must have been reading their own press too much last week.
    2 meakes looks like a porn star
    3 how good is Beale?
    4 how bad is Foley? Aside from place kicking
    5 how does a pack that gives away 60kg and 70m dollars in salary cap dominate the scrum battle?
    6 poor Mafi hasn’t recovered from the horrible blow dealt by that meanie bully Matt Lucas. Justice for Mafi!
    7 it’s good to see a team of battlers beat the ARU supported silvertails from Melbourne.#workingclasstahs

    • Ed

      Melbourne silvertails? The Tahs would have four of the six players with the highest ARU top-ups – Folau, Beale, Hooper and Foley. The other two would be Pocock and Genia.

      • Chinese Dave

        Mate, the ARU killed off the force while waiving any semblance of fairness or financial probity. They then gave them an unlimited salary “cap”and their pick of any off contract or former force player.
        So, the ARU rebels, oh the irony, are the silvertails here, have no doubt.

    • Tah Tragic

      “.#workingclasstahs”. Seriously? Have I travelled through a wormhole and entered an alternate universe?

      • BigNickHartman

        it was the working title of Jimmy Barnes’ famous hit song

    • Xaviera

      In between poking your tongue through your cheek, we need to acknowledge the prowess of the kicking game that enabled Izzy to shine, and the main proponent of that was Foley. #JusticeForNard.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I agree that across the field and for Izzy to jump into he’s alright. However, his length of kick is very poor, as is his accuracy when he does kick for field position. The annoying thing for me, and probably others, is that he has never improved this critical area of his game. I also think his distribution skills are not good, and certainly below average when passing to the right.

        • Xaviera

          I don’t think he’ll ever get more kicking distance – it is what it is, which is why we need alternatives.

          His passing seems worse this year, which I can only put down to confidence. Would be interested to see Mick Byrne’s take on it.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think that it is a disgrace that as a full time rugby player he is getting worse. He comes across as very arrogant to me and I feel that it’s the arrogance that is stopping him getting better. I may be wrong on his arrogance but that’s the impression I get.

        • Xaviera

          Fair point. I don’t know the answer to that.

          One to one, I’ve never seen a hint of arrogance. If anything, a little shyness. All those I know who know him says he’s a lovely bloke.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah point taken and I guess I’ve been a tad harsh. Still don’t rate him though

        • Guest

          I’m sorry KRL, I do agree with some of what you say, but every time you get personal about Foley it sheet me.
          According to you, every player who has a deep in form is a disgrace. Really? or is that only for Foley.
          I don’t know him personally so I don’t know if he arrogant or not (he doesn’t sound like that in the interviews), but saying that if someone haven’t improve that because a flow in their character is a bit far fetch.
          He’s kicking from the tee improved this year, so he did work on some areas, is that make him a nicer person?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I agree I need to tone it down and I’ll try. He doesn’t impress me at all though

        • Chinese Dave

          Mate, you clearly dislike the guy and I don’t know why. I mean he isn’t the best by any means, but you know as much as the next guy how hard he trains and what he works on when he does. I’ve yet to see the famed interview where he was arrogant but I suspect it was one of those anodyne run of the mill bullshit interviews where the player, after a bad performance, didn’t say we were total shit, and then half the people here have a meltdown about. In short, if you have proof he’s arrogant and lazy as opposed to simply not being that good, bring it on, I’m ready to hate him too, just need a reason.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate it has been a couple of those interviews but what I don’t like about him is his lack of growth. To me it appears he doesn’t think he needs to because he’s good enough as he is. I refuse to believe that if he is being coached properly and put in the hard work he wouldn’t have learnt to kick better and pass better to his right. If anything he’s got worse so yeah I don’t like him at all

        • Chinese Dave

          I don’t doubt your observations, his in field kicking is certainly not getting any better. But to assume that the only plausible explanation for that is that he is arrogant about how good he is and is too lazy to try and improve is to draw a bow from here to the moon. Why do you assume he’s being coached well? Gibson doesn’t look like a great coach to me, and Cheika’s coaching gifts are motivational for the most part. Also, how do you know what he is working on? His place kicking has improved quite a lot, maybe he’s been told to work on that? Or maybe he’s also working on his long range kicking and is simply not able to get noticeably better. There could be a million reasons for this. Not liking a player because he’s not that good and is not getting better, or even is getting worse as he ages, is, firstly, rather odd, and secondly, seems arbitrarily applied by you to Foley and not to other players. I mean, has Quade Cooper (just to bring up the usual foil) gotten any better in recent years? I dare say he hasn’t. Did you hate Genia when his form slid for several years until the world cup? What about Kiwi players? Do you hate Julian Savea (other for being a wife beater) because his form took several steps back the last couple of years? The list goes on and on, but yours only has Foley on it. Perhaps Foley isn’t the issue here.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That’s fair and I am a bit biased. I admit that just because I think he’s arrogant doesn’t mean he is. I just get that impression from the odd tv interview and comments that have been in the media. I also admit I could be wrong on that as they can be out of context. However I still find it hard to accept that a full time rugby player with nothing to do but train has got worse in some of his core skills.

      • Chinese Dave

        Actually,my take was that Beale kicked the perfect ones that Folau caught and Foley kicked the ones he nearly caught.

  • Xaviera

    Adrian – you were not alone, although I failed to tip the margin correctly. I was not alone there either.

  • Richard Patterson

    Just me – or was anyone else left wondering afterwards if that a really good Waratahs performance or a really dreadful Rebels performance? The Rebels were up 20-3 at the 30 minute mark and in control of the game. The Waratahs then won the following 50 minutes 48-7 in what degenerated into an embarrassingly one-sided contest. Credit to the Waratahs for cashing in on the change of momentum, but there were some very ominous signs for a Rebels team who rolled over when the pressure went on.

    The 2017 Melbourne Rebels were a poor professional rugby side. The 2017 Western Force were a poor professional rugby side – but played with a spirit led by Matt Hodgson. Yesterday showed the considerable work still to be done to bring these 2 franchises to level that can be competitive in Super Rugby – without a leader like Matt Hodgson. The art of winning starts with knowing how to win. Dave Wessels and the Rebels learnt that yesterday.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      A bit of both I think mate. The changes to the Tahs with Folau on the wing was a big bonus as he is much better there plus the inclusion of Kepu made a big difference in the forwards. I was really disappointed at the way the Rebels folded and they need to really look at that. As mentioned by others the loss of DHP was a big influence as Hodge is no 15. Shows a lack of depth despite all the recruitment that was done after the Force went. I’d guess there will be some soul searching this week and the Sharks will be looking hopeful.

      • Richard Patterson

        Good points as always KRL. The concern for the Rebels has to be the way they lost complete control of a game they had built nicely into. Ahead 20-3 nearing halftime, they conceded a soft late try but still went into the break with a comfortable 10 point lead. A nice time to consolidate, review the game plan, re-set objectives and collectively work hard towards an important away win. They lost the 2nd half 41-7. Their attack lost accuracy, their defence imploded and the leadership group were disturbingly absent. The Waratahs by comparison were allowed to thrive. Gibson should be very grateful to his southern rivals. The Rebels breathed much needed self belief into a side that at the 30 minute mark yesterday looked to have none.

        • The reality of the game as I saw it was that 20-3 was no reflection of field position or play dominance. Look at the Mafi try – one pass off the deck and a 60 metre run. It wasn’t a result of ensemble play or the previous 5 minute Rebel domination, the Tahs had dominated but just not closed out the scores. If the score at half time had been 25-20 Tahs that would probably have reflected the run of play. But the Tahs had butchered all their opportunities and nearly butchered the Foketi one too. Then after oranges Izzy did his thing, two or three passes stuck, and all of a sudden its 41-20.

        • Richard Patterson

          I do not disagree Hawko. It was indeed a game of fluctuating fortunes — played in extreme heat, so mental fatigue would have been just as likely as physical exhaustion. Recall Reece Hodge also butchered a 1st half try in the act of scoring so there were opportunities all over the park. Somehow though, when the tide turned on the Rebels they folded – badly. I suspect the film review this week may make for some uncomfortable watching.

  • Braveheart81

    I’m still not convinced Taqele should start. Yesterday to me is the perfect role for him. It’s enough time that he can be devastating in attack without leaving him out there too long to be a liability in defence. His biggest problem will always be his ability to turn and chase and last season he was found out by grubbers and chips on a number of occasions. This gets worse when he is tired.

    I think using him as an impact sub is most likely to deliver the best upside from him with little or none of the downside.

    • But if Foketi hadn’t succumbed to an early injury he would have likely only got 10 minutes.

      • Braveheart81

        That’s down to the coach to make tactical substitutions. I would have him in the 23 jersey and look to give him 20-30 minutes every match.

        I think Foketi has been good at 13. We’ve certainly had an issue with the second winger (Kellaway and Newsome both disappointing). Yesterday with Hegarty at 15 certainly gave us our best game from our wingers across the 80 minutes.

        • Xaviera

          Agreed. I like Izzy on the wing, and with Hegarty an option at 15, that means we can fill the other wing spot with a player in form. Sadly, that’s neither Kellaway or Newsome.

    • Pedro

      I mostly agree but he was excellent at realigning for his first try. Good run tackled and off loaded, got up and got the ball back to score, two passes later.

      I think that was part of the reason he was so happy with it, because he knew it was what the coaching staff wanted to see from him.

    • Mart

      You’re craaaaazy Douges..
      He is a weapon that needs to be utilised.

      We were down 20-3 early in the match. What difference would it have made
      if he started. Plus later in the game he got turned around and caught
      the player. Obviously something he’s working on. Also in the first of
      his tries he was tackled and on the deck and bounced up and caught up
      with the play to score. These things can be worked on with more game
      time not less. Hegarty hit it up early and made no ground lost the ball,
      resulting in a try to Rebels. That would not have happened with Taqele.
      He is an explosive player that punters will come to watch. The Waratahs do not have the luxury of ignoring this.

      Australia has a history of mismanaging these sort of players.
      Look at Nemani Nadolo.
      Tahs told him he was too big for a winger. When he joined Crusaders, they said forget fitness use your size

      Give him space and play to his strengths

      • Braveheart81

        I still reckon all his best games have been when he has had limited time and makes a huge impact. I don’t think that impact increases if you play him for 80 minutes or start him and expect to sub him after 50 or 60.

        I agree his efforts were excellent particularly to get back into the play to finish his first try.

        Nadolo is a different one. He was terrible before he went overseas for a few years and by all reports was a slack trainer and didn’t put in the work in those early days. There were five years between him being at the Waratahs and then being awesome at the Crusaders.

        • Mart

          I reckon it’s best to start the big game players.
          Even if he only lasts 50, he will do make more of a difference then coming on late.

          Nadolo, (Ratu) tore it up on the club scene and then got a Waratah contract. Apparently he had a poor attitude But surely that could have been managed better.

          He says he was told ‘ he would never be a super player’… Not very positive for a young guy with loads of potential.

          He went on to be one of the highest paid players world wide. What does that say about the management at the Tahs

        • I think it says more about young men and their immaturity. I know a number of blokes who didn’t apply themselves until they were 23-25, and then did really well. Also know a couple who never applied themselves and got absolutely nowhere.

          Peter Fitzsimons should have played 50 tests for Australia. He didn’t apply himself as a youngster. He told me he knew if he had applied himself as he does today he would have had a completely different record.

        • Braveheart81

          Re: Nadolo, it wasn’t good from the Tahs, that’s for sure, but Nadolo then went to play half a season for the worst team in the French Top 14 before they moved him on to Exeter. He played 4 games for them before he got a drink driving ban and was fired. He then played 3 years in the Top League in Japan where it seems to finally matured into a quality person and player before the Crusaders signed him.

          I think he was a long way from applying himself to the necessary level to become a star professional player when he was a 20 years old at the Tahs.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well done Adrian, credit where dedit is due. I bet you were crapping yourself at half time though. Their second half was good rugby, but that first half was pretty insipid crap. Glad they got a up. More strength across the Aussie franchises is only a good thing.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s, well that was a surprise. After I picked my self up off the floor, I sat with the other guys watching the game and slowly digested the weekends games. BL’s Waratahs / Rebels points in no particular order:
    – Gee the Tarts first half really sucked. That was bad rugby.
    – What ever Gibbo said to them at half time or gave them in their oranges and cordial, I want some of it.
    – Lucky Simmons had a better second half and scored a try, because even for Simmons that first half was not a good display.
    – Foley is still shite.
    – Kepu not at 100% is a bolstering influence for the tarts, imagine what he is going to do when back at full speed.
    – The Rebels took their foot off the gas, and then couldnt locate the pedal again. Wessells should re-focus his group.
    – Genia didnt have the most brilliant of games.
    – When Beale has a forward pack that functions that extra space / time enables him to do some magic things.
    – The Big Question for the tarts is can they back that up?
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Tah Tragic

      I agree with most of your comments except I thought Foley had a reasonable game. Apart from 4 handling errors, he had 100% tackle success and, combined with Beale, turned the game with a great kicking display (not just from the tee).

      When Hooper was asked after the game what flicked the switch he said it was BF’s smart kicking combined with Falou’s aerobatics. Yes, he is probably a little biased, but even Wessels said that the game was lost due to their failure to shut down the Foley/Beale combo and that they ceded the midfield dominance they had established in the 1st half.
      Beale was the more influential of the 2 but I think it is unfair to say BF was shite.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I probably should have been more precise, he was shite in the first half and pretty good in the second. Mind you he tactical kicking whilst accurate (i.e. he actually found touch this time) his distance is lacking still.

        • Tah Tragic

          Agreed. Foley should not be doing clearing kicks from the 22. Compare his clearances to Hodge’s. No contest.

        • Brisneyland Local

          That is my fundamental concern if he is the Wallabies 10. His clearance kicks from the 22 actually put more pressure on us.

        • Braveheart81

          Hodge kicks with glacial slowness though. I agree that Foley’s distance is poor. Generally Beale provides the best compromise of the 3. Genia’s improved boxkicking this season should hopefully see him taking some of the clearing kicks and relieving some of the pressure as well.

        • Xaviera

          Worth noting too that KB took a number of clearance kicks, and his distance is excellent. Gives the Tahs and Wallabies options with two kickers, and I don’t mind that. It also takes the heat off Foley, at least a bit. At Wallaby level, even more so if Hodge is on the field (although he was poor yesterday generally, but his clearing kicks were excellent).

        • Hoss

          Don’t sell yourself short mate – Foleys form scale ranges from ‘complete shite to shite’, so shites on the upper end of the form scale & yes, i am a Tah’s fan

        • Brisneyland Local

          well we heard it from the Big Guy, and I agree with you!

  • Ed

    Are the Tahs keeping the size of the crowd a secret? It was 11087 for the Stormers match.
    They didn’t reveal the crowds for several matches last year.
    I guess we’ll see what the attendances were when NSW Rugby releases its annual report for 2017.

    • OlderIGet

      To be fair, the weather was hotter than a snake’s arse in a wheel rut. A better day at the beach or in an air conditioned pub than the rugby. The Eastern side of the ground was only for the body-builders who wanted an excuse to get their toasted, oiled muscles on the TV. The western side of the ground was pretty full, but it was a hard day to be there and even harder to play. But crikey, it was worth it.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Well I have some humble pie to eat after that game. I certainly didn’t see that coming and I hope the Tahs can keep this up.
    I’m glad Folau played so well as I’ve been saying for some time that he would be a better wing than a 15 or 13. Less issues for defence, more space to attack, including being able to use the kick as an attacking weapon to his wing. He doesn’t get found out with his own poor kicking so much as a winger and generally just appears suited to that position.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      That’s interesting. As someone who played both 15 and 14 many, many years ago, I don’t recall feeling that I had more room on the wing than at 15. Of course it may have been my team mates were just slow at delivering the pill [and the defense drifted], plus the sideline was far from my friend.
      Whereas at 15, and on a rare good day, I could inject myself fairly easily into the backline and there seemed to be acres of space. Just my thoughts.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah the drifting attacker can kill your space but in general if the ball is shifted rather than the people you do end up with more. 15 has more initially when a ball is kicked but it closes down fast, especially these days

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Yep. Well done mate. Bask in the glory you deserve it.

  • Missing Link

    The Sharks wont turn the Rebels over this Friday, did you see the Sharks play over the weekend? The Rebels at home will be licking their wounds and be too strong.

  • Mart

    You’re craaaaazy Douges..
    He is a weapon that needs to be utilised.

    We were down 20-3 early in the match. What difference would it have made if he started. Plus later in the game he got turned around and caught the player. Obviously something he’s working on. Also in the first of his tries he was tackled and on the deck and bounced up and caught up with the play to score. These things can be worked on with more game time not less. Hegarty hit it up early and made no ground lost the ball, resulting in a try to Rebels. That would not have happened with Taqele.
    He is an explosive player that punters will come to watch. The Waratahs do not have the luxury of ignoring this.

    Australia has a history of mismanaging these sort of players.
    Look at Nemani Nadolo.
    Tahs told him he was too big for a winger. When he joined Crusaders, they said forget fitness use your size

    Give him space and play to his strengths i say

Melbourne Rebels

Grew up watching Catchpole and Hawthorne, then later the Ella brothers, on Channel Two on Saturday afternoon. Expert commentary by Cyril Towers. No better rugby education ever to be had.

More in Melbourne Rebels