The Family and I went along to Suncorp stadium last night to watch The Reds take on The Melbourne Rebels. We were confident of a win, Gillian known as Redslug on Superbru had picked Queensland to win by 5 and I was a little more confident to the tune of 12 points mainly due to Mark Gerrard’s injury which I believed would have a significant effect on Melbourne’s game. What follow was a 53 to 3 massacre that seemingly came out of nowhere.
As a Reds fan it would be easy to fall into the trap of praising my side for a comprehensive display. Although I believe they played better than they have in any other game this year. There are still questions to be asked about the scrum and ball security in particular. Not to mention the hole that seems to be opening at out centre that is screaming for someone to fill. Queensland had clearly worked on their structure and have found ways to give Quade Cooper sometime to use his many attacking skills. And it was clear that the “cut them in half” defence we all loved to see last year was back. There will be a few sore old bones in The Rebels camp today.
But the real question is what happened to the Rebels side I watched last week. They started out pretty well. But the only points they registered were off the back of 3 successive Reds penalties effectively pushing them down the field to within kicking distance. After the first 15 minutes they quickly fell away and were continually pushed back in defence and attack. I can’t put my finger on the reason. They clearly have gifted players and a world cup winning coach. But they don’t seem to have a real plan. Maybe it is their very international flavour that is killing them. You know the Bulls will play Jurassic Rugby, The Crusaders will smother you and the Reds want to run. But what style of Rugby do a bunch of guys from a dozen different countries with different cultures, playing styles and life styles play. The Bulls, Crusaders and any other club team in any competition you care to mention have a collective mentality. They generally have a core of guys that are coming from the same place. And these guys instil a culture into the rest of them. It’s like if you think of the Highlanders you immediately think of huge guys, Mullets and Jimmy Cowan. The Bulls, huge guys, Victor and flat track bully Botha. Now think of the Rebels. Keep thinking. That’s right. Nothing! There is no group mentality. No chutzpah. Nothing. How do you fix that? How do you melt down 30 individuals and build a dynasty out of them? Don’t ask the Sparky from The Gold Coast? He has no idea. If he did he’d be making a lot of money out of it and not spending his Saturday afternoon writing this.
Back to the game. There were a couple of decisions during the game that clearly upset myself and a couple of other people sitting near me. I have reviewed the tape and am willing to apologise to Stuart Dickinson for my criticism. But unfortunately while I reviewed the incidents I noticed your lack of control of the breakdown. Players running full steam into Rucks and using their bodies as flying battering rams clearly doesn’t cut it. And while we clearly benefited from you losing this part of your game. I hope you take this small critique on board and take a look at it.
Taking a quick look at the Reds Team there are still clearly issues with the front row. Daly at Loosehead is okay when he hits his bind but he seems to miss it a lot, he also seems to be tight in the hip flexors and this seems to stop him getting lower in the hips than the shoulders. This is a structural problem that would take a lot of work to correct. I unlike others can see little wrong with Faingaa or Slipper in the Front row.
Adam Wallace-Harrison seems like a very smart buy by Ewen McKenzie. He and to a lesser extent Rob Simmons destroyed the Rebels Linout. Both had strong games around the field.
Genia and Cooper both made a few mistakes, but you can expect this from players who handle the ball so often. Cooper was the official man of the match and his kicking and passing was pretty much spot on all game.
Michael Harris had the commentators screaming about his Australian Grandmother but I have never met a born and raised Kiwi yet who had the slightest interest in a wallaby jersey. So I wouldn’t be counting on that any time soon. I would still ask though. At 186 cm and 96 kilos he certainly knows how to throw his weight around and his kicking seems inch perfect.
Radike Samo was Radike Samo like. Just love watching him play. So did the 5-year-old 2 rows in front of me who couldn’t believe his hair when he came up on the big screen.
I wonder if this game help or hinders the Reds this year. It will certainly help their confidence but I wonder if it is built on a very shaky base. Time will tell.
- Chambers dumped for Reds v Rebels clash (news.theage.com.au)
- Reds smash Rebels 53-3 (news.theage.com.au)
- Smashed Rebels too soft up top (news.theage.com.au)
- Reds give Rebels an old fashioned hiding (3news.co.nz)
- Queensland Reds 53-3 Melbourne Rebels (uk.eurosport.yahoo.com)
- Reds thump Rebels 53-3 (3news.co.nz)
Tagged: Beau Robinson, Bulls, Digby Ioane, Ewen McKenzie, Jimmy Cowan, Leroy Houston, Melbourne Rebels, Michael Harris, Quade Cooper, Queensland Reds, Radike Samo, Reds (Super rugby team), Rugby Union, Suncorp Stadium, Will Genia