Battered Reds urged to show true colours

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    The battered Queensland Reds have been urged to show true character after returning home from a horror three-match tour which has derailed their Super Rugby title defence.

    The Reds flew back into Brisbane on Sunday afternoon in a sombre mood after conceding a disastrous 106 points in two consecutive hidings by the Bulls and Western Force.

    A tour-opening loss to the Sharks in Durban ended a three-match unbeaten start to their 2012 campaign and the injury-hit defending champions have now plummeted to ninth on the competition table.

    A long season, a weak Australian conference and the pending return of a cavalry of players ensures Queensland aren’t out of the play-off race but they’re in danger of falling into a deep hole.

    Coming off the back of the 61-8 drubbing by the Bulls in Pretoria, the Reds were outmuscled early by the fired-up Force in Perth, uncharacteristically falling off tackles and giving away penalties as they trailed 21-0 before ultimately losing 45-19.

    Last season the Reds conceded just 18 points per game as they swept to the title but their previously tight-knit defence has unravelled as they have thrown caution to the wind on tour.

    Coach Ewen McKenzie insisted self-belief remained strong within his side and backed his players to rise to the current challenge.

    “It’s disappointing and complicated and all those things but it’s also a challenge and we’ve got a simple chance to show character and we’ll take this opportunity to demonstrate character,” he told AAP.

    “The wheel will turn – there’s too much pride for it not to come together.

    “We’ll fight our way out of it. There’s a lot of belief in the team and individuals.

    “We’re paying a price for inexperience and a lack of combinations at the moment.”

    The three-match losing streak, the Reds’ worst since 2009, heightens the importance of Good Friday’s home clash with the Brumbies.

    Queensland have won 16 of their past 17 matches at Suncorp Stadium, with their only defeat coming at the hands of the Brumbies last June, and McKenzie expected they’d be invigorated by the return home.

    The biggest dilemma for the coach is whether to keep the faith with fourth-choice flyhalf Dallan Murphy, who has been pitchforked into the playmaking hot seat with Quade Cooper, Mike Harris and Ben Lucas all sidelined.

    It was a chargedown from a poor Murphy kick early in the second half at nib Stadium which led to a crucial Force try that put them ahead 28-5.

    McKenzie has the option of moving Wallabies halfback Will Genia to No.10, promoting youngster Sam Lane or sticking with Murphy.

    “That’s really the $64 question,” he said. “We’ve got three scenarios to look at.

    “But you’ve got to be careful you don’t change for the sake of it and make things more complicated.”

    Of the dozen Reds injured, including nine backs, none are expected to return against the Brumbies but half are in the mix following the round eight bye while Cooper is still at least a month away.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • April 1st 2012 @ 11:55pm
      Lippy said | April 1st 2012 @ 11:55pm | ! Report

      The $65 question is will the Reds fans show their true colours and turn up to support a team in crisis and well of the pace.
      Its easy to support a winning team not so much a team that is currently resembling a headless chook

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 2:57am
      Greg said | April 2nd 2012 @ 2:57am | ! Report

      Last year I said that the conference system was the worst thing to happen to Australian Rugby and the Reds were undeserved winners thanks to merely being the best of a bad bunch in a weak conference that struck a Crusaders team in the final who had given as much as humanly possible since the earthquake in February. Everyone told me I was wrong, the Reds were the future of Australian rugby and McKenzie should be immediately replacing Robbie Deans.

      One Australian team will make the finals again this year thanks to that conference system and again everyone will think Australian rugby is in great shape going into the quad nations (whatever its called now) but the Wallabies will get flogged.

      Dump the conference system. Dump the 5th Aussie and SA teams, maybe even more, and go back to a high quality competition of elite players. When it was Super 12 and there were 3 Aussie teams, only the best got to play at that level and as a result the Wallabies were strong.

      Oh and send Link back to Stade Francais…….

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 5:40am
        mania said | April 2nd 2012 @ 5:40am | ! Report

        greg – totally agree, but its too late now to take the 2 extra aus teams away and there’s no way SA are going to give back their teams. the conference system is slowly growing on me though that part of the rules where one team from each each country is guaranteed a place in the repecharge is totally unfair.
        rads are learning that getting tot he top and staying at the top are two totally different beasts.

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 7:12am
        Lippy said | April 2nd 2012 @ 7:12am | ! Report

        There were quite a few others who shared your thoughts re the Reds title last year and were heckled and abused here for daring to suggest the Reds were not the best team in 2011.
        The Reds are struggling greatlyband having to face the top teams on the road has proved their downfall, I do not buy into the injury excuse as every team has injuries. The Tahs have injuries across the park and the Highlanders are set to sign Mike Delaney as their two 1st choice 10s are gone for the season.

        The conference system certainly favours the top Australian teams their is no question about that.
        Hypothetically speaking if the competition finished on current standings the Brumbies would get a home final although finishing technically 6th overall on the main table. Currently on 18 points they are ahead of the Chiefs 22, Bulls 20 & Crusaders also on 18 log points yet with a better points differential.

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 8:01am
        millard said | April 2nd 2012 @ 8:01am | ! Report

        GREG

        dumped coaches not welcome back at stade francais.Mackenzie has a long season ahead at reds

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 3:05am
      Ronnie88 said | April 2nd 2012 @ 3:05am | ! Report

      Great to see Daley is getting back to his best, especially in defence, looks like he topped tackle count for whole game in first half, with no misses. It starts here in defence and the rest usually looks after itself. Rally up boys and get the basics right and build, continuing to believe in everyones talents.

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 3:38am
      ManSter said | April 2nd 2012 @ 3:38am | ! Report

      The REDS have been monster-ed by an in-humanly level of injuries/suspensions in conjunction with a more difficult draw. It is something that 3-4 teams face every year so where are the “McKenzie” calls for super coach now…..!!!!!

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:27am
        Rugbug said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        Injuries are absolutely no excuse whatsoever every team has injuries. Suspensions also can not be used as an excuse that is the players own fault and he put his team in that position. So if Reds fans want to gripe about Ioane being suspended why not send him a tweet.

        • April 2nd 2012 @ 6:22pm
          Bear said | April 2nd 2012 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

          Yes Rugbug, Every team has injuries. But when all of your injuries are from the one postion (5/8) (Cooper, Harris, Lucas, Lance), you are gone. If the injuries were spread over the whole squad it would be different.

          • April 2nd 2012 @ 7:32pm
            Lippy said | April 2nd 2012 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

            Have you looked at the Highlanders injury list at 10
            when you do then come back and rethink that statement.
            Seems they are still travelling well on their 3rd choice 10.
            The Reds are stacked full of Wallabies your injury excuse simply doesn’t wash.

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 10:16am
      Gary Russell-Sharam said | April 2nd 2012 @ 10:16am | ! Report

      While I am considerate of the injuries and the suspensions etc. The Reds don’t seem to have the cohesion that they had last year. Simple mistakes at crucial times are killing them. Dropped ball, forward passes, penalties given away and kicking aimlessly to give possession back to the opposition. Do the Reds have the same coaches as last season???? I know that Mackenzie is there but have the assistants changed?? If they haven’t changed it would seem that they are not doing their job well enough this time around, or they are not getting their message to the players who may not be listening to them. Whatever the problem is the Reds are a shadow of the side that played last year. Horwill who was going great guns last season looks jaded to me. He is operating at half the pace he was last season. The only players who looks to be at the top level are Higginbotham and to a degree Holmes, the rest of the pack seem to be listless or just that much off the pace. The young players like Quirk Schatz and Gill seem to be overwhelmed by the responsibility. And when we get to the backline having put young Murphy at flyhalf and both times he has not been up to it suggests that the Reds should give Tim Lane’s son a go. If he is something as near to being as good as his father was they couldn’t do any worse than they are and maybe they could get some cohesion into the backline. Genia is not the answer at flyhalf and in talking about Genia he has slipped into the old mould of Greagan by taking two to three steps out from the ruck before he gives the ball, telegraphing his pass to the flyhalf. He would be best advised to just pass from the base of the ruck or scrum like he did when he first came on the scene. At least then the flyhalf might get some room to move and create something. At present the Western Force’s Brett Sheehan is the form halfback in the Aussie conferences. His pass is one of the best, I can remember when he had the worst pass of all the halfbacks but he has worked really hard on improving and it has paid off in spades. His service is fast and direct and he picks his time to run at the line. Genia should watch a few tapes of Sheehan’s performances and learn from them.

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 11:36pm
        millard said | April 2nd 2012 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

        GARY i havent heard of any coaching changes at the reds but im aware some players are believing their press and
        becoming uncoachable.Playing for themselves and not the team unable to take advice.your critique of GENIA is correct,and
        if he is a wallaby on this seasons form id be surprised.Its like he is playing touch rugby avoiding contact like the plague.
        the brumbies will target him on fridays encounter for sure.makenzie will pull him into line before long.

    • Roar Guru

      April 2nd 2012 @ 11:47am
      Hoy said | April 2nd 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

      Injuries can’t really be an excuse until you are down to your 5th or 6th string 5/8, the position that dictates game plans etc. Muprhy from all accounts is possibly talented, but at the moment, way out of his depth.

      What is an issue here is that the defense of the Reds has fallen apart so badly. It needs tightening up big time. I knew they would struggle to attack without Quade, but surely he isn’t their defenisve lynchpin either… Jeez.

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