Dissection of the 2013 Australian Super Rugby squads – Queensland Reds

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    Our continuing series on the chances of Australia’s Super Rugby squads for 2013 today features the 2011 Champions Queensland Reds.

    Best team
    1. Ben Daley
    2. James Hanson
    3. James Slipper
    4. Rob Simmons
    5. James Horwill
    6. Benn Robinson
    7. Liam Gill
    8. Jake Schatz
    9. Will Genia
    10. Quade Cooper
    11. Digby Ioane
    12. Mike Harris
    13. Ben Tapuai
    14. Dom Shipperly
    15. Luke Morahan

    16. Sia Fiangaa
    17. Greg Holmes
    18. Adam Wallace Harrison
    19. Radike Samo
    20. Ben Lucas
    21. Anthony Fiangaa
    22. Chris Feauai-Sautia

    Other squad
    23. Albert Anae
    24. Jono Owen
    25. David McDuling
    26. Eddie Quirk
    27. Nick Frisby
    28. Jono Lance
    29. Rod Davies
    30. Aidan Toua

    EPS
    31. Kevin Davis – prop
    32. Blake Evever – lock
    33. Jarrad Butler – no 8
    34. UJ Seuteni – five-eighth
    35. Joel Faulkner – outside back

    In
    D McDuling, A Anae, J Owen

    Out
    Guy Shepherdson, Van Humphries, Scott Higginbotham, Peter Hynes

    Season chances
    The lack of personnel changes in the Reds squad shows that something is working up in the north and there are many more reasons to back this theory. With record members, a strong core of Wallabies and a team that now has several seasons to understand each other’s game, the Reds should take out the Australian conference.

    Their squad of 30 is a strong squad and should be able to manage injuries. The only place I see them having a weakness in the overall squad is in their props stocks. Holmes is not a starting prop and Owen is not a Super Rugby prop, so any injuries to their big boys would significantly reduce their chances of lifting the trophy again.

    Predicted finish – conference first – overall second

    Key player
    Will Genia is an absolute game changer. His ability to lift a team by his actions is second to none in Australia. How he returns from a major knee injury will determine the fate of the Reds’ season. In saying that, Ben Lucas and Nick Frisby are two class and able replacements.

    Up and comer
    Nick Frisby is a dynamic halfback that performs just as well in the fullback position. He is quick off the mark and has a sharp pass off the ground. The under-20s World Cup showed that Nick and Chris Feauai-Sautia are upcoming superstars of our game.

    Best buy
    The Reds have maintained a steady squad and have not needed to do much off season recruiting. Their best buy of the season would be the elevation of Albert Anae to the main squad, from the EPS. He is a good set piece hooker, with strong skills around the park. If Faingaa or Hanson are down with injury during the year, Anae won’t disappoint.

    Biggest loss
    Scott Higginbotham will be a big loss for the Reds, given his talent in all aspects of the game. The Reds have ample backrow talent, but Higginbotham provides aggression in attack and defence that is a great motivator for the men around him.

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    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (77)

    • January 8th 2013 @ 7:59am
      Red Kev said | January 8th 2013 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      Just a couple of corrections – in no way, shape or form is Ben Daley a better prop than Greg Holmes; and Jono Lance is in the best 22 (in my opinion he’s actually in the best 15 but McKenzie may not agree with that).

      Cooper needs to develop a better game and that means place kicking – don’t give him the safety net of Mike Harris.
      Tapuai (12) and Morahan (13) are the strongest centre combination the team can field (Taps plays at 12 for the Wallabies and his club, Morahan plays at 13 for his club). That allows you to put Lance who is a brutal defender and as safe as Cory Jane under the high ball at fullback.

      • Roar Guru

        January 8th 2013 @ 8:13am
        Who Needs Melon said | January 8th 2013 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        Agreed. On Tapuai at least – I see him as a specialist 12 and he should be played there. Definitely the best looking backline… assuming everyone stays fit. *crosses fingers*

        And I think at 6 he means Beau Robinson as opposed to Benn? What are your thoughts on that Red Kev?

        • January 8th 2013 @ 8:19am
          Red Kev said | January 8th 2013 @ 8:19am | ! Report

          I would like to see Benn Robinson at flanker 🙂
          Gill-Robinson-Schatz gives the Reds some serious presence at the breakdown and a very fast pack but it probably won’t work all the time. I think McKenzie will start Samo against the more physical teams though (Waratahs, Highlanders, and all the SA sides).

          • January 8th 2013 @ 9:40am
            Selector said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:40am | ! Report

            Hey guys

            Another late night typo. Fat Cat would love to be a specialist 7, but I don’t think McKenzie would be happy with that.

            I agree with swaping in Samo when needed a bit more presence.

            I do believe Tapuai is the best 12 in Australia right now, but I am not sure about Morahan at 13.

            • January 8th 2013 @ 11:39am
              JIM said | January 8th 2013 @ 11:39am | ! Report

              Agree that Tapuai should be starting 12. I think that Morahan needs to be at 15 and would suggest that with another year there he will be a Wallaby fullback.

              I think that without Chris Feauai-Sautia is still too inexperienced to play at 13. Which means Lance, Harris or A Faingaa. I would love to see Lance get the starting spot with Harris a bench option. I think Harris is a rock solid player, and could be a useful bench option becasue he can cover options.

      • January 8th 2013 @ 9:55am
        rl said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Kev, still reckon Harris has to be in there – he’s a solid player, and his goal kicking is outstanding, whereas QC is patchy at best.

        And I too share your man-crush for Jono Lance!!

        • January 8th 2013 @ 12:45pm
          Red Kev said | January 8th 2013 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

          I disagree, Deans has the massively flawed policy of.picking a kicker and shuffling the team to fit.him in. The Reds do not need to make that mistake.
          Cooper’s biggest critics talk about consistency, make him place kick consistently as well. Make him the complete flyhalf.

          • January 8th 2013 @ 1:25pm
            WQ said | January 8th 2013 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

            Red Kev, you are talking in riddles here.
            You want Cooper in the side and Harris out, but you want Cooper to be more consistent!
            If Cooper was more consistent he would be just like Harris!!

            • January 8th 2013 @ 2:40pm
              Red Kev said | January 8th 2013 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

              No. Cooper would be a more consistent Cooper.
              Cooper can actually play flyhalf, set up tries, pass into gaps, attack the line, create space, all those things the Wallabies have been missing, no amount of coaching can give those skills to Harris or Barnes.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 2:53pm
                Jutsie said | January 8th 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                you could argue that no amount of coaching (or disciplinary actions) will make cooper grow up and become a consistent player either.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 3:37pm
                JIM said | January 8th 2013 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                100% agree Red Kev. I would suggest that while Cooper still has a way to go, he has already improved a lot in the last 3 years. Both his game and his maturity. Yes his maturity and consistency has further to go.

                But the reality is that every side that plays against the Reds with Cooper in it, will be thinking about how to nulify Cooper. Without Cooper running on, our opponents will be a lot more confident. Cooper, when on song, can win games. Barnes, Harris, etc – cannot.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 4:26pm
                WQ said | January 8th 2013 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

                Red Kev I think that there are elements of Flyhalf play that Cooper can claim to be good at. You have identified most of them.
                The issue with Cooper at Flyhalf, is not what he is good at, but what he is missing when put under Test match pressure. Namely a cool head and some form of consistency.

            • January 8th 2013 @ 2:42pm
              rl said | January 8th 2013 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

              I don’t know if you’ve visited Harris’ website lately, but the abundant self-love and gratuitous naked torso and towel shot makes me wonder if Mikey isn’t starting to be just like QC!!!

              • January 9th 2013 @ 5:56am
                Justin2 said | January 9th 2013 @ 5:56am | ! Report

                He has a site? Oh dear…

          • January 8th 2013 @ 4:31pm
            Hightackle said | January 8th 2013 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

            Deans has a flawed plan of fitting a kicker in?
            Red Kev YOU NEED A KICKER. The flaw is in players such as Cooper and Beale who cant kick. I think you will find that “flawed” tactic saved Australias ass in more than a few games this year.

          • January 8th 2013 @ 5:18pm
            Hightackle said | January 8th 2013 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

            Cooper cant defend and so Deans has to shuffle the backline in defence. Coopers place kicking is rubbish so Deans has to fit a kicker in. Deans has to restrict his gameplans in order to suit Cooper.
            I cant understand why some people see this as Robbies fault.
            If guys like Beale, Barnes and Cooper were more well rounded and more consistent (see Cruden, Carter, Sexton, Goosen, Michilack, Burns, Barrett) Deans would be able to choose a backline and stick with it but as it is Aust demands Robbie make an inconsistent, injury riddled bunch of flawed players into something more than what they were in 2012, the 2nd most consistent team in the world.
            As W.Gatland said, Robbies job would be safe in any other country in the world.
            Too many of the Aust rugby public want miracles and when they get them, they whinge that the miracles were not pretty enough.

            • January 8th 2013 @ 5:53pm
              WQ said | January 8th 2013 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

              Hightackle, I am not a Robbie Deans fan myself however I think you have summed that up nicely!

            • January 13th 2013 @ 9:57am
              cm said | January 13th 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

              I’m with you, Hightackle. Well said!

          • January 8th 2013 @ 5:57pm
            WW said | January 8th 2013 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

            One of he more intellectually challenged comments in history

            Fancy picking a kicker in a rugby side

            • January 9th 2013 @ 5:38am
              Red Kev said | January 9th 2013 @ 5:38am | ! Report

              Cooper is a kicker – his percentage is pretty much exactly the same as O’Connor’s, namely 70-75%.
              What you don’t need to do is base your entire strategy and team around an average player like Barnes or Harris and put them on the field and play for penalties which is what Deans has been doing.

              • January 9th 2013 @ 6:32am
                kingplaymaker said | January 9th 2013 @ 6:32am | ! Report

                Hard to base a strategy around Cooper when he’s injured, while it was based around him for the past years when fit.

    • January 8th 2013 @ 9:08am
      Red Block said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      The greatest coup for the Reds was the signing of exciting schoolboy fullback Jonah Placid. NRL clubs were falling over themselves in effort to sign him but in a further sign of the strength of the Reds administration, he chose to stay in rugby. He should be a star very soon and he may well be given a glimpse of Super Rugby this year.

      The other great coup was getting the ARU to re-sign Cooper. I’m not aware of the machinations that took place but the Reds obviously put forward a very convincing argument that forced a backflip in thinking. The national situation will be intriguing!

      • January 8th 2013 @ 9:17am
        kingplaymaker said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        ‘The greatest coup for the Reds was the signing of exciting schoolboy fullback Jonah Placid. NRL clubs were falling over themselves in effort to sign him but in a further sign of the strength of the Reds administration, he chose to stay in rugby. He should be a star very soon and he may well be given a glimpse of Super Rugby this year. ‘

        It would be nice if there were some brilliant young 8s, 6s, locks, front rowers to go with all these talented backs…..

        Besides Red Block, where are the Reds going to fit all these talented players? A squad is only 30 large. There is no second team in Brisbane to take the overflow. The result is probably the waste of masses of talent players who can’t make the top 30.

        A terrible shame.

        • January 8th 2013 @ 9:42am
          Selector said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          I would have love to have seen a few players leave the reds for more of an opportunity.

          Lucas should be in a starting Halfback role
          Lance could solve some problems in the Rebs backline.
          Toua can score a try or twelve and I would love to see him get a shot this year.

          • January 8th 2013 @ 10:03am
            kingplaymaker said | January 8th 2013 @ 10:03am | ! Report

            Selector it’s often a task I would like to challenge those who know the outer reaches of the Super squads better than I do: choose a team or two from those outside the starting XV of each franchise. The results would be very interesting.

            Even at a new franchise like the Rebels you have Phipps and Kingi which is a waste. At the Waratahs there is L.Timani, Ben Daley, endless centres at the Reds, Vaea, Kuridrani and Kimlin won’t start at the Brumbies as mentioned yesterday.

            Two or three more teams could easily be formed.

          • January 8th 2013 @ 10:22am
            Justin2 said | January 8th 2013 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            Lucas is a 10! And I wish the Rebels had made him an offer over any other player we did.

            • January 8th 2013 @ 11:48am
              sittingbison said | January 8th 2013 @ 11:48am | ! Report

              Correct. They needed Lucas more than Higgers.

        • January 8th 2013 @ 10:00am
          Rob9 said | January 8th 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          It’s a 22/23 man game KPM. And these things called injuries ensure players are rotated through the starting 15 regularly. Depth is what sets the Australian sides (bar the Reds) and NZ franchises/top SA teams apart.

          I’m sure players like Lucas, Seautia, Lance, Quirk and whichever centre/hooker doesn’t start will begin to look at a move beyond the Reds if they still can’t crack the starting 15 in order to do what’s best for the individual game/career. But the fact is, the Reds are just in a healthy position right now to be able to match it with the best teams from the other conferences.

          Injuries are a given, and a champion side will have the playing stocks to cover them. If the best 75 players in the country are starting for a SR team, all of our teams would struggle in this completion and whoever won the conference would be quickly found out and bundled out of the finals.

          • January 8th 2013 @ 10:06am
            kingplaymaker said | January 8th 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

            Rob9 but of course: the problem is that many of these squads have not just two but three players in a position and even with injury good talent misses out.

            And then what about the players that can’t make the ultra-competitive Reds or Waratahs squads? Given the quality of forwards at the Waratahs and backs at the Reds, who knows what talent there is outside the squad that can’t even get in, and that could be just as good? And if there were some more space in new teams they would get to play. Think what’s being lost!

            If there were more teams too, it would be across all the conferences so it would even out.

            • January 8th 2013 @ 10:26am
              Rob9 said | January 8th 2013 @ 10:26am | ! Report

              ‘And then what about the players that can’t make the ultra-competitive Reds or Waratahs squads? Given the quality of forwards at the Waratahs and backs at the Reds, who knows what talent there is outside the squad that can’t even get in, and that could be just as good? And if there were some more space in new teams they would get to play. Think what’s being lost!’

              It would be naïve to suggest that the Rebels, Brumbies and Force don’t have the microscope cast over the Shute Shield and Premier Rugby. Considering the current standard of Super Rugby (with 5 teams in NZ and SA), there isn’t much being missed in these competitions.

              For the record, I’d love to have more professional rugby teams in Australia for the game to increase its coverage within our market. But this would have to coincide with an increased number of teams from NZ and SA and there’s a whole lot of logistical issues with that come with that considering the international nature of the competition. The fact remains, in terms of depth we’re still playing catch to NZ and SA and the Reds (and to a lesser extent the Tahs) are the only Aussie team(s) that can challenge the 4 best NZ sides and 3 best SA sides. This is a result of the depth in the Reds squad, not as a result of their starting 15. You win a championship with 22 plus players, not 15- the Reds are really the only Australian side that are in this envious position.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 11:32am
                kingplaymaker said | January 8th 2013 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                Rob9 I’m sure the Rebels, Brumbies and Force do cast their eyes over the secondary competitions. But you wonder if they trial players and train with potential youngsters so readily at such distances (at least in the case of two of them).

                The problem with having so few teams is that many players are lost to league as teenagers as there is not a Super team onsite (Newcastle, Gold Coast, different areas of Sydney for example), while there are so many league teams competing who can offer an 18 year old a starting place instead of a place in the larger NSW squad until they reach 21 or 23 and the older players have retired). So masses of young talent is lost through the lack of teams to house young players, not to mention the players who aren’t exactly lost because they belong to no one, but could be attracted to rugby with Super teams. (Sydney 2, 3, Newcastle Gold Coast, Adelaide are the major missing markets). Plus the game cannot be grown and NEW players attracted to it in the major areas listed because there isn’t a team in each to do so.

                Obviously if you went to a 9 team system, even given that the New Zealand and South African players would be spread out more among their respective teams, Australian teams would be somewhat weaker to begin with. But this would change as the considerable playing numbers came through with more opportunities (the playing numbers being the same as New Zealand), and in the meantime imports and some league converts could boost the teams to make them more competitive. Say 5 imports a team.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 12:01pm
                Rob9 said | January 8th 2013 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                KPM I agree that Australian Rugby should be heading in a different direction with regards to the structure of the professional competition we’re involved in. It will take a complete shakeup of the status quo but in my view it’s worth it- a/ to have a greater presence on the Australian landscape and attract more fans to the game and b/ to make rugby a more attractive/accessible option for young footballers by offering more opportunities for athletes to make a living from the game.

                To do this I’d suggest cutting direct ties within our domestic structure with SA. Create a new Trans-Tasman league with our geographically and culturally closer neighbor New Zealand with 8 teams from each country. Within Australia I’d include the Gold Coast, Newcastle and Western Sydney (Adelaide are not in a position to take on a professional rugby team for the foreseeable future- I’m sure we’ve had that argument elsewhere).

                To counter our lack of depth I’d create an open player market between Australia and NZ where players can hop between the 2 countries domestic teams. This would probably involve 10 squads worth of Kiwi players being involved initially due to the abundance of rugby talent on their side of the Tasman. With this some rules would have to be put in place over and above the IRB’s current rules to ensure there isn’t a flood of questionable eligibility based international selections.

                Such a relationship would be hugely beneficial for both countries. NZ get significantly more local rugby talent being exposed to elite rugby while Australia gets an increased level of local coverage in the form of more teams, these teams are competitive (by not being restricted to picking only local players) and they still provide an increased number of positions for local players to play rugby for a living.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 12:12pm
                Rob9 said | January 8th 2013 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

                PS. The point is that with the current structure, the Reds are where the other Australian franchises should be with regards to squad depth. Sure it’s sad for the other 4 (or 3 if you consider the Tahs a healthy squad) sides but that’s what they should all be aiming for. The Reds should do everything they can to hold onto the playing talent within their 22 and beyond. Loosing guys like A and S Fa’aingaa, Quirk, Sauitia, Lucas, Daley and Lance, while probably not starters they’re integral to the success of this rugby team. If players of this caliber were to be scattered across Australia’s 4 other teams, it would bring the Reds back to the pack and not have a great impact on the remaining Australian sides. As an Australian rugby fan, I’d much rather at least one competitive Australian side come finals time.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 12:48pm
                kingplaymaker said | January 8th 2013 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                Rob9 I think that’s the point regarding the Reds depth: if they have this much depth within their squad, what lies outside their squad? Is it being picked up or lost to league? If the Reds and rugby in Queensland is growing, how can they fit more talent into an already talent-full squad? That’s where the second QLD team in the Gold Coast would come in, and ditto further teams in NSW. As for Adelaide, my model in terms of Australia only differs from yours in adding this single team to the additional three you have mentioned, so not much.

                The big old teams would get the best stuff doubtless, but with the growth of the game and the greater number of places allowed by extra teams, quite possibly the second would be similar in overall strength.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 4:34pm
                Rob9 said | January 8th 2013 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

                KPM, I agree a small percent is lost to the NRL. To a certain extent that will always be the case but I agree that more teams will allow rugby the opportunity to capture more of this talent.

                Under the current structure of Super Rugby, I just don’t see talent hiding anywhere though. If you’re playing rugby at high school, you’re good enough and you have a desire to kick-start a career in the code, more often than not you’ll be picked up by one of Australia’s 5 teams.

                If the standard of play dropped as a result of more elite teams from NZ and Australia (this wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world- see the entertainment value of the ITM Cup) then there’s absolutely a considerable amount of talent in the Shute Shield and Premier Rugby that would justify selection. With the current standard of play in Super Rugby however, there just isn’t the depth there. If you have the ability and desire then you’ll absolutely be on the 30 man roster of one of these five squads. Despite being located out of their jurisdictions, the Brumbies, Force and Rebels have no choice but to keep a very close eye on the Brisbane and Sydney club competitions as these are recognised as Australia’s rugby nurseries. And if you’re a player in one of these comps and you’re offered a contract from one of these 3 teams, you’re not gonna turn it down hoping that a spot opens up at the Reds or Tahs.

              • January 10th 2013 @ 1:17pm
                Just Wondering said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

                If there is all this so called talent and there is enough players to make up 8 or 9 teams why can’t we have our domestic competition and be in ependent on other countries?

                The Super 15 competition is big enough now. Personally I would prefer to see a team representing one of the Pacific Island nations such as Samoa, Tonga or Fiji before there are more Super rugby teams.

                At least they play with heart and flair

                When our teams start being competitive constantly then you may convince me we have all this so called talent

                Until then 5 Australian teams is enough.

            • January 8th 2013 @ 10:44am
              Justin2 said | January 8th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

              I didnt think AUS rugby had any depth KPM, thats why Deans is a genius 🙂

              • January 8th 2013 @ 11:33am
                kingplaymaker said | January 8th 2013 @ 11:33am | ! Report

                Far less than its competitors, but partly through the problem that what talent there is is often hoarded and wasted in a small number of teams, instead of being spread out and allowed to blossom in a larger number.

            • January 8th 2013 @ 11:52am
              sittingbison said | January 8th 2013 @ 11:52am | ! Report

              KPM, one of the big issues at Force is to make the franchise a desirable alternative for both young developing players and older established players. They can only do this by playing an exiting style, start winning more than losing, and being completely and thoroughly professional within the organisation. Until these occur they will struggle to attract these sidelined but talented youngsters.

              • January 8th 2013 @ 12:51pm
                kingplaymaker said | January 8th 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                sittingbison it’s a problem, and one that would beset an Adelaide team too but which doesn’t seem to affect the Rebels presumably because Melbourne is seen as a more glamorous and large city.

                In the long term though, assuming the game continued to grow (to which the ARU must be trusted…), both in Perth and Adelaide teams could be attractive but it takes the ARU to act effectively.

              • January 9th 2013 @ 6:40pm
                sittingbison said | January 9th 2013 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

                of course one of the attractions of Melbourne (other than its delightful nature and facilites) is the 10 marquee spots available for a nice pay rise for the likes of JOC and Beale plus the bevy of internationals and the ex mungos

        • January 8th 2013 @ 11:51am
          Jagman said | January 8th 2013 @ 11:51am | ! Report

          KPM I believe the Reds have an up and coming 6-8 back rower named Curtis Browning or something like that. Very young but a lot is expected of him.

          • January 8th 2013 @ 12:52pm
            kingplaymaker said | January 8th 2013 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

            Hope so Jagman, it would be high time for some brilliant new forwards in those positions to appear!

            • January 8th 2013 @ 3:20pm
              JamieJ said | January 8th 2013 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

              You mean other than Michael Hooper, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Colby Faingaa etc…

              • January 8th 2013 @ 4:07pm
                Jutsie said | January 8th 2013 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

                KPM said 6-8, three out of the four you named are 7’s.

      • January 8th 2013 @ 9:23am
        Boomeranga said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        Good news they have secured Placid, but on what sort of contract have they signed him?

    • Roar Guru

      January 8th 2013 @ 9:09am
      Hoy said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Taps at 12, and I still can’t make my mind up about both Harris and Morahan. Harris has very little punch, although he set up a great try last year, and Morahan at the back just doesn’t hit pace at all, it is like he jogs it back. Having said that, we need Harris’ boot, so him at fullback, and I would love to see the young bloke Chris Feauai-Sautia given a go at 13 this year at some stage. I think he has the makings of a great centre. Good size, fast, but not express, but mostly, and great presence of mind to know when and who to pass to. That is the impression I get from limited sitings anyway. Would love to see more of him.

      It will be an interesting backrow. Schatz isn’t big enough for 8 I don’t think. I could be wrong though. So Gill, who you would have to think is in front of Robinson, at 7, and then 6? Can Robinson play a 6 game?

      Can Simmons man up at the ruck? I am so tired of pretty second rowers. We seem to be the only country that makes tall beautiful people.

      And what does Holmes have to do to be picked? Poor bloke.

      • January 8th 2013 @ 3:46pm
        JIM said | January 8th 2013 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        I think your question about the back of the scrum could be the biggest one to watch. With Gill, Robinson and Schatz on the back of the scrum we are deperately short of ball carriers. Schatz is ok, but needs to improve a lot. Both Robinson and Gill will need to carry the ball a lot more.

        Without it, we can have the best backline in the world, but will struggle if we cant carry the ball forward in close first.

    • January 8th 2013 @ 9:13am
      Boomeranga said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      I would like to see Taps and Morahan in the centers as well. Really hope Morahan makes his mark this year.

      Serious shame Daley isn’t a better scrummager. I think he’s a terrific player outside the scrum.

      Good squad.

      • January 8th 2013 @ 11:32am
        JIM said | January 8th 2013 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        agreed about Daley. While scrums are an important part of the game, they are less relevant today. I think at Super level you can pick Daley as your starting man and just acknowledge that you are going to get outscrummaged. And just rely on his workrate across the park to make up for it. Which is what Link has been doing for the last 2 years.

    • January 8th 2013 @ 9:17am
      Rob9 said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      An exciting side and one of their greatest strengths is the depth that’s emerged over the last few seasons. They’ve had a handy 15 for the last few seasons but the stocks the Reds have outside that should ensure they’re able to send out seriously competitive sides for most of the season. Quite a few of those players on the bench and beyond would be up for starting births in many of the other Australian teams. Just look at the guys who cover the back three, 5 quality players in Digby, Shipperly, Morahan, Sautia and Lance (6 if you want to include Davies) vying for 3 starting spots and 1 on the bench. And the guys up for spots in the backrow are going to make that an interesting selection decision (I reckon Eddie Quirk could be ready to step up in Higgers absence).

      However, the amount of depth the Reds have in the midfield will be sure to give Link his greatest selection headache. Firstly I believe Harris, Taps and Fa’ainga are all best suited to the 12 jersey with the latter 2 able to cover 13. My original thought for this season was to go with a Taps/Fa 12/13 combo to allow Tapuai the opportunity to play in his strongest position and have Harris on the bench to cover 10/12. However, on reflection I think may be go as you’ve suggested (Harris/Taps) so we’ve got the super boot on the field and with his radar tuned in. Regardless, of which way Link goes we should be well covered in the 10, 12 and 13 roles all season… (fingers crossed there isn’t the same curse on the 10 shirt as there was at the start of last season).

      The one ‘correction’ I’d make to your analysis would be your key player and the one you’d want to keep on the field the entire season. Obviously Genia is a key member of this team and losing him would be a huge setback. But as you point out, there’s solid cover for him in the form of Lucas and Frisby. I believe if we lost Horwill again for a significant chunk of the season it’d be bordering on impossible to come back from. As captain he’s the backbone of the leadership team and one of those players that plays with passion and leads from the front. He lifts the young forward pack around him and it was obvious just how much we missed him at the pointy end of last season. Particularly the tight 5 need him out there. Besides what he brings to the team, he plays lock which I believe is the position where we’re most vulnerable with lack of depth. I rate AWH as a solid lock who gets the job done but it wouldn’t be ideal to have the 33 yo. starting week in week out with the inexperienced McDuling coming onto the bench.

    • January 8th 2013 @ 9:28am
      Boomeranga said | January 8th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      I heard McDuling had done his knee again.

      I’d like to see Curtis Browning get a run this year as well, but seeing him would mean bad injuries for the Reds.

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