Reds nowhere near Super best: McKenzie

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    Ewen McKenzie has stressed the Queensland Reds are “not even close” to their best despite three straight wins and has demanded better finishing to be leading Super Rugby contenders.

    The Reds might have beaten NSW, the Hurricanes and Melbourne Rebels on the trot but have consistently missed or messed up try-scoring chances which have denied them bonus points.

    Coaching boss McKenzie on Thursday made three expected changes to his backline for Saturday night’s home clash with the Western Force, and their attack will be bolstered by the return of halfback general Will Genia from a knee reconstruction.

    But Queensland will be without in-form strike weapon Digby Ioane (stood down) and fellow Wallabies winger Dom Shipperley (back) at Suncorp Stadium.

    The dual blow has opened the door for Chris Feauai-Sautia and one-Test flyer Luke Morahan, who will make his first start of the year after being dumped from the 22 for the 23-13 win over the Rebels.

    Although Ioane will be sorely missed, Morahan’s return could be good timing for a player rated highly by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

    The 22-year-old’s speed immediately makes Quade Cooper’s wide passing game more dangerous.

    “Luke is one of the best in sniffing out tries,” McKenzie said. “He’s always there getting the last pass and is good at reading those opportunities.”

    While their defence has earned rave reviews, Queensland have shot themselves in the foot with poor finishing – highlighted by Jono Lance and Saia Faingaa botching tries against the Rebels.

    “We’re always chasing our best and we’re not even close at the moment,” McKenzie said.

    “There was an easy two tries we didn’t take against the Rebels and, with a bit more vision, we could have got another two.

    “That will come with some cohesion. I always say you build your attack and we’re still building that.”

    Morahan believes Genia’s return, limited to the first 40 minutes, will automatically lift the Reds’ attack.
    “It gives us a lot of confidence,” he said. “He’s a world-class player and he runs our attack really well so him coming in will do wonders for us.”

    Young halfback Nick Frisby has beaten Ben Lucas to a spot on the bench and will play the second half following a timely career-best match against the Rebels.

    Queensland suffered a late blow when reserve forward Radike Samo injured his knee at training, forcing a recall for veteran lock Adam Wallace-Harrison who had initially been dropped from the bench in anticipation of a fierce breakdown contest.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (39)

    • March 15th 2013 @ 6:46am
      simon_sez said | March 15th 2013 @ 6:46am | ! Report

      Is Mackenzie going to rotate his playing squad like Jake White, or is he going for player burn out and subsequent long player injury list, just like last year?

      • Roar Rookie

        March 15th 2013 @ 8:00am
        Comrade Bear said | March 15th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        I don’t think the reds were down to their 5th choice fly half last year due to poor squad rotation…

        • March 15th 2013 @ 8:13am
          Red Kev said | March 15th 2013 @ 8:13am | ! Report

          Maybe not, but it does concern me that McKenzie doesn’t know who his fullback should be.
          I like Jono Lance but he might not be fast enough for the role so maybe Morahan at 15 is the best fit. I know he’s a big fan of Lucas at 15 too because of his rugby brain. Lance 12 – Tapuai 13 might work too, it isn’t his natural position but he will probably end up having to play there for the Wallabies so he might as well get used to it.

          • March 15th 2013 @ 9:23am
            Harry said | March 15th 2013 @ 9:23am | ! Report

            Please keep Taps at 12, clearly his best position.
            Mike Harris seems squeezed out of the starting 15.
            Love the depth. Is Rocket Rod injured again or not getting a look in?

            • March 15th 2013 @ 10:24am
              formeropenside said | March 15th 2013 @ 10:24am | ! Report


              • March 15th 2013 @ 11:20pm
                Mick said | March 15th 2013 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

                Surely AAC will be Wallabies 13, and 12 is still very open? Jeez I hope Taps is Wallabies 12. It’s good to see Cheika persisting with AAC at 13 – I hope he plays every single minute there this season.

    • March 15th 2013 @ 8:03am
      formeropenside said | March 15th 2013 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      Morahan rated highly by Robbie Deans? Why has he hardly been picked by Robbie then?

    • March 15th 2013 @ 9:31am
      BetterRedThanDead said | March 15th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      Will be there on Saturday night and looking forward to seeing whether WG can light a fire in the Reds backline.

      Yes, comment regards Morahan is puzzling. He seems to be in much the same boat as Dom Shipperley; both excellent, in-form players but somehow unable to get onto Dean’s radar. He appears too busy bromancing McCabe and Beale to give them the time of day.

    • March 15th 2013 @ 9:42am
      kingplaymaker said | March 15th 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      I wonder how Toua is, will get a chance it would seem.

      • March 15th 2013 @ 10:05am
        Justin2 said | March 15th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Hasn’t he a,ready had two chances this year and disappointed badly?

        • March 15th 2013 @ 10:23am
          kingplaymaker said | March 15th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          I wouldn’t say so: he’s virtually a debutant. It may take more than one real match to see how good a player is.Time will tell.

          • March 15th 2013 @ 11:55am
            Justin2 said | March 15th 2013 @ 11:55am | ! Report

            I dont disagree he may show more in the future but he has already had two chances and did sweet fark all. In fcta he was down right ordinary as Jigs said.

        • Roar Guru

          March 15th 2013 @ 11:16am
          Jiggles said | March 15th 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

          Justin, Toua was anonymous in one match and absolutely woeful in his other. He’s been in he system a long long time so I don’t think he should really have any excuse. He should probably get a few more chances off the bench but if he doesn’t fire I’d cut him loose and bring in Jonnah Placid as a rookie.

          • March 15th 2013 @ 1:35pm
            kingplaymaker said | March 15th 2013 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

            Well I wonder why Mckenzie is trying him further then, given his wonderful eye for talent.

    • March 15th 2013 @ 9:44am
      JTG said | March 15th 2013 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      Rocket Rod is injured, hamstring i think?? I hope Morahan has a good game as think he should be reds 15, Jono Lance also good but Morahan bit faster & stronger, Harris is a steady player who can kick but that is about it unfortunately. How does someone like Drew Mitchell get picked ahead of Shipperly for the wallabies????

      • March 15th 2013 @ 9:56am
        Harry said | March 15th 2013 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        I think Morahan needs to tighten is game up a bit. Still suspect in defence, under the high ball, handling and aimless/poor kicking. Improve in those areas and he’s a potential test fullack for sure

    • Roar Guru

      March 15th 2013 @ 10:00am
      Hoy said | March 15th 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

      I just can’t rate Morahan highly. He is just like Harris, only faster. But he very very rarely hits top speed. I don’t know, I just can’t get into him like everyone else.

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