Stiles: Mafi could go all the way to the top



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    Reds coach Nick Stiles described young hooker Alex Mafi as the most nervous player he had seen before a run-on debut, but feels his performance shows he can become a dominant Super Rugby figure for Queensland.

    After coming on as a substitute in the Reds’ 43-10 defeat to the Brumbies last week, Mafi was given the No.2 shirt for the first time in the 47-34 victory over the Kings at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

    Although just 20, Mafi’s Reds bow had been a long time coming after repeated shoulder injuries had kept him on the sidelines for much of the last three years – and the sense of occasion was not lost on the player.

    “He was as nervous as I’ve seen in a guy starting, making his run on debut,” Stiles said.

    “I thought he was great. He’s been in our program for three years, unfortunately he’s had a lot of shoulder reconstructions in that time.

    “What we like about him is his athleticism and his footwork and he’s a footballer, he can read the game really well. The confidence he’ll take out of that is enormous.

    “I’m giving a lot of minutes to the next crop of footballers. We had Alex start, Lukhan Tui start, Izaia Perese start, these names that will only get more dominant in Queensland rugby.”

    Mafi was replaced by Andrew Ready at halftime but not before he had led the Reds to dominate the scrums, including a try-creating turnover in the sixth minute.

    “I thought he dominated really well through his right side which is important for a hooker, to lock that side of the scrum down,” Stiles said.

    “To get that tight head was a real confidence boost for the lads at the start because the reality is we’ve lost six games in a row.

    “To come out and get a really rewarding turnover and a try on the back of it was great.

    “It comes from hooker the scrummaging power. If he’s not doing a good job with his height it means you cant really be dominant.”

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • April 17th 2017 @ 10:34pm
      Horrotah said | April 17th 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

      Queensland need to build a new team and cast off any players who haven’t come through the junior system in some way. This would cause some pain – eg losing one of their most effectively be ball runners In Hendrik Tui however give fans what they crave – a team which can be identified with as qlders eg no Sydney Uni stopgap props nor Kane Douglas types who play without heart.
      I’ve sadly left out Cooper and Genia only becomes we need new players to step up now. Those guys did the job years ago and it’s difficult to see how many good years they have left in them
      An innovative coach and some experienced attack and defensive assistants are the key.

      1. James Slipper
      2. Andrew Ready
      3. Taniela Tupou
      4. Rory Arnold
      5. Lukhan Tui
      6. Sean McMahon
      7. David Pocock
      8. Scott Higginbotham
      9. James Tuttle
      10. Mack Mason
      11. Izzy Perese
      12. Campbell Magnay
      13. Samu Kerevi
      14. Nemani Nadolo
      15. Luke Morahan

      16. Alex Mafi
      17. Markus Vanzati
      18. Blake Enever
      19. Jared Butler/Curtis Browning
      20. Liam Gill
      21. Ben Meehan/Isaac Lucas
      22. Duncan Paiaua
      23. Israel Folau

      To all of the misinformed and ignorant –
      Rory Arnold lived in a town on the border of Qld and NSW and played all his club rugby on the Gold Coast before signing with the Brumbies.
      Israel Folau spent his high school years in Qld learning how to be an NRL & Origin star. He brought some of these skills over to Union crafted while a student at Marsden State High
      Nemani Nadolo was raised in Brisbane since an infant and attended Nudgee College
      Tongan Thor – well, this guy is a gun for hire who walked away from high school scholarships in NZ to choose
      Qld as a place he wants to call home. It’s close to pis-weak but no worse than Sekope Kepu or Clyde Rathbone who bailed on their respective countries after representing in U20’s or U21’s

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