New Reds players are needed to stop the red ink

RobC Roar Guru

By RobC, RobC is a Roar Guru

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109 Have your say

    For the majority of this decade now, the Red in Queensland Reds stands for ugly losses.

    While ‘BT’ and co delivered some surprisingly good results earlier this year, the team seems to be tiring out. The next few weeks ahead might lead to a gush of claret in terms of points, attendance, and the bottom line.

    After a thrashing by the Chiefs last weekend, Queensland will face the rampaging Lions in a fortnight. Not long after this, they will face New Zealand teams the Hurricanes and Highlanders. The Waratahs and the Blues then follow. These opponents will view the Reds as a source of bonus point wins.

    There’s no sign that Brad Thorn’s Reds team are getting any better than last year. It can be argued this team would have been trashed by last year’s Western Force.

    Queensland, as one of the four surviving teams of the Australian Conference, must do the “sacrifice of the Force” some service and deliver a good job.

    The jury is still out for the coaching, but it is very clear that the roster will not be good enough to win against even the weaker teams anytime soon.

    Last year, the Reds were a mix of the ‘too old’ and the ‘too new’. It is a bit like making a milkshake from fresh milk and spoilt cream. This year the Reds are full of newbies, which is like eating raw bananas.

    It must change for 2019. The first player to bring in, if possible, is Liam Gill. Gill is an all-around player who is excellent in attack, great in defence, and a good leader of men. He is reliable, fast and smart. The other is Sean McMahon, for the same reasons.

    Liam Gill with ball

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    If you put Gill and McMachon on the pitch at the same time with the locking giants and players like the Tongan Thor and backs, the Reds will be hard to beat. This is assuming the coaches do a half-decent job.

    The set-piece is a big problem. None of the Reds’ hookers are displaying consistent performances to date. However, I suspect (hope) this will change over time. Otherwise, 2019 will be a painful year again.

    The selection of 2019’s flyhalf is also a mystery, because while it’s obvious Jono Lance will vacate this position next year, his replacement is not.

    Hamish Steward is still too raw to be an on-field general, nor does he display the pace needed to threaten oppositions. Quade Cooper is not in contention, for well-documented reasons. Perhaps the man is Duncan Pai’aua. But he has not been sighted at all.

    As we head towards the June Test season, it is a good time for the Queensland Rugby Union administrators and coaches to start reflecting on the roster. They should not leave these things too late and commit schoolboy mistakes like announcing a squad then dumping their senior players.

    This is supposed to be the professional era, after all.

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    The Crowd Says (109)

    • April 23rd 2018 @ 8:26am
      Rhys Bosley said | April 23rd 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Hopefully with Cooper and Hunt likely to be off overseas, the Reds will be able to afford some decent buys for next season. I think they are going to have to persist with the young playmakers though, aside from Toomua who seems to be entrenched in Europe, I can’t think of any Aussies I would be want them to buy.

      • April 23rd 2018 @ 8:39am
        Fionn said | April 23rd 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        You could try and entice Berrick Barnes back to Queensland.

        At this point it might just be better to back the young guys though.

        • Roar Guru

          April 23rd 2018 @ 9:32am
          RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          Enjoy those raw bananas Fionn haha

          • April 23rd 2018 @ 8:56pm
            cuw said | April 23rd 2018 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

            Paddy Jackson is looking for a club …. 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        April 23rd 2018 @ 9:31am
        RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        They should start giving Hamish more time from hereon Rhys if there’s any hope for a better performance next year

        • April 23rd 2018 @ 8:59pm
          cuw said | April 23rd 2018 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

          Hunt i dont know – but Cooper’s best chance maybe Japan.

          the stint in France did him no good – Mourad called him pate’ 🙂

          also not being seen does his chances no good at all.

          unless European scouts are watching club games in aussy ( which i doubt ).

      • April 23rd 2018 @ 9:38am
        Bobo the Clown said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        I won`t happen because they will all challenge Michael Cheikas favourites for a test spot and he can`t have that, have you seen how many quality test players have left for overseas or been jettisoned because Cheika wont ever select them ?. Gill is wasting his time RobC the ulttimate goal of a player is to play for the Wallabies and Cheika only picks and sticks with Waratahs.

        Toomua, Jones, Cooper, ( QLD Premier rugby) White, Holmes ,Mowen, Tomane, James O’Conner Gill, Horwill, Holmes, McMahon.

        • Roar Guru

          April 23rd 2018 @ 10:21am
          RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Fair point Bobo about being a WB
          Though I’m not sold on the theory about Check and his favourite…. Too much 😉

        • Roar Guru

          April 23rd 2018 @ 11:13am
          Ralph said | April 23rd 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          If that is true Bobo, it is worst than tragic.

      • April 23rd 2018 @ 9:40am
        JP said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        Won`t happen because Quade loves playing with a coach who embraces his skills and QC also loves Brisbane.

        • Roar Guru

          April 23rd 2018 @ 10:23am
          RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          You’ll have to be.a bit silly not to love Brizvegas!

      • April 23rd 2018 @ 7:57pm
        Rebellion said | April 23rd 2018 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

        Great article RobC,
        Agree with your choice of backrow forwards because they are Queenslanders. Apart from sharing the same opinion, an acquaintance of mine (who works for a ‘previous’ major sponsor of the Reds) revealed research conducted with local rugby fans found having ‘locally bred/produced players’ were easier to identify with as one of the three key findings.
        I think if you got these two guys back, Campbell Magnay and a decent attack coach the team would be on its way.
        Who knows who the answer at flyhalf is though. I wonder if Australian rugby has ever been lower in depth or it’s just been exaggerated by players to have gone aboard and too many domestic teams spreading the talent (and overall standard of rugby) just too thin.

    • April 23rd 2018 @ 8:39am
      Rugby Tragic said | April 23rd 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      How dear RobC that you write about the Blues in this manner!

      On a more serious note, agree whole heartedly about Liam Gill, but I suspect he might be a bit tough to prize away from his french employers. /a great No 7,….. a great player and a loss to Aussie rugby at the moment

      • Roar Guru

        April 23rd 2018 @ 9:35am
        RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        There can never be too many Liams playing for the Reds, RT

      • April 23rd 2018 @ 10:25am
        Hello said | April 23rd 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        Agree RT.
        Thanks for the article RobC – there seem to be a few dilemma’s with the reds atm.
        Attacking structure seems to be a major problem.
        I think that to more then personal changes are needed and that who ever is coach needs time to make these changes.
        I personally thought that Styles should have been given at least 2 full seasons as head coach to make these changes and now that BT is there I think with the changes he is making he will need 3 seasons to get his structure set

        • Roar Guru

          April 23rd 2018 @ 10:31am
          RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          Hello hello!

          You’re welcome. Yes I think structure is the bigger problem. That should be worked on now and is largely an internal process

          Recruitment and budgeting is a longer process. I’m assuming (hoping) QRU and the administration has started it

    • April 23rd 2018 @ 8:45am
      jimbo81 said | April 23rd 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      It’s Stewart or bust at 10 and he better learn fast. We need firepower out back too and a decent 7 would be nice – but the purchases need to also be eligible for the Wallabies otherwise what’s the point? You want your best stars further enhancing their skills at Test level – the way NSW get all the advantages currently with journeymen players like Hannigan and Robertson gaining test experience at the expense of far far better players overlooked in favour of a sky blue jersey.

      • Roar Guru

        April 23rd 2018 @ 9:51am
        RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Jimbo, you want to bet the fortunes of the Reds on Stuart?

        • April 24th 2018 @ 4:22pm
          Daveski said | April 24th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

          Isn’t Mack Mason a Qlder?

          Foley is pretty resilient so Mason isn’t getting any chances especially with Hegarty and Beale as 10 options.

          Angus Sinclair at Norths is a very solid player but just not fashionable enough to get a look.

          Liam McNamara is another one to watch. Bad ACL Injury at tail end of last year’s sevens series ( or was it the U20s) but very Maddocks like in having the pace for wing and ball playing abilities of a 10.

    • April 23rd 2018 @ 8:46am
      Harry said | April 23rd 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Depressing that we are already talking about next year’s roster to improve things. The absence of Hunt and Cooper, one of course self inflicted, has left a massive hole.
      Anyway my wish list of returnees … Toomua, Tomane, James O’Conner (yes I know), Gill, Horwill, Holmes, McMahon. Won’t happen of course but all would be valuable.
      James Slipper of concern. I very much hope its a short term injury he’s got as he was off the pace in what he did play on the weekend.
      Hoping for a better display on the weekend. Not great being uncompetitive as skilful as the Chiefs were.

      • Roar Guru

        April 23rd 2018 @ 10:09am
        RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        Harry we’ve reached 60% of the season. Whilst haven’t seen everything. We have seen enough I think

      • April 24th 2018 @ 7:45am
        Jameswm said | April 24th 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

        Toomua- yes but Kerevi and CFS are going well. How good would he be at 10? Good player though and would improve them.

        Horwill – not needed

        Gill OR McMahon, not both.

        Holmes – useful as backup

        Tomane – not as important

        JOC – really? Wouldn’t fit the new culture Thorn is correctly trying to build.

        So in summary Toomua plus Gill or McMahon, and maybe Holmes.

        • April 24th 2018 @ 9:21am
          Captain Sensible said | April 24th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

          What Culture is Thorn bringing ?. I haven’t seen it yet ? Please englighten us with your knowledge of what this culture is.

          • April 27th 2018 @ 8:04pm
            Scott said | April 27th 2018 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

            From what I’ve seen to date a losing culture

    • Roar Guru

      April 23rd 2018 @ 9:47am
      Machooka said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      Thanks MrRobC… and agree that the RED in the Queensland REDs presently stands for, arguably, indeed ugly !

      But, by the same token, what about the other Aussie teams!?!

      This past SR round has served as a stern reminder that Aussie rugby is on the back foot. Topsy turvy. Twixt between. A twisted sister of the royal rugby family. And, frankly, this is a major fail from the top down… and has been so for the last 15 years.

      What to do eh? Lots to do!

      • Roar Guru

        April 23rd 2018 @ 10:13am
        RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report


        I think the Tahs will be fine. Same as the rest. They have a healthy combination of seasoned and young players.

        • April 23rd 2018 @ 12:11pm
          Jacko said | April 23rd 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          That is the big problem with this article…..You believe the other conferences will be fine…even tho they all lost…all because they have a healthy combination of seasoned and young players , yet the Reds are in massive trouble because they have a whole lot of young guys….You say the Cheifs thrashed the Reds yet watching the game I saw a lot of spirit from the Reds in the 2nd half. The Tahs are all good yet lost by way more than the REDS…It seems to be an anti Reds article rather than a constructive Union article. The Rebels got most of the Force players yet can only beat Aus sides and the Brumbies are a shadow of their former selves with all the experience they have. I do agree that there is a need for better quality players at the Reds in a few positions but its not just the Reds Im afraid….its across the Aus comp….And deleting the Force has failed to improve the quality across the board, with a clear lack of skills and game management being a massive issue going forward

          • Roar Guru

            April 23rd 2018 @ 12:41pm
            RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

            Jacko! Welcome to the Redzone. So this article is about the REDS! Specifically about the roster. Compared to other Aus teams, the player problems for Qld are significant

            If / when I”ll write an article about the opportunities and problems of Aus SR team, you will see it.

            Also, so youre saying 5 tries to 2, 31 points to ZIP after 45 minutes isn’t a trashing?

            • Roar Guru

              April 23rd 2018 @ 5:02pm
              Machooka said | April 23rd 2018 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

              Bugger… did I go off topic?

            • April 23rd 2018 @ 5:31pm
              Jacko said | April 23rd 2018 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

              No Im not saying it was pretty for any Reds fan but in Aus at the moment there does not appear to be the cattle to compete with the NZ sides. The score is one thing but for me the facts are that the Reds are a very young side that has not been sucessful for 5 or so years now and I dont think any coach would be making these guys into conference winners in a short time frame. The talk before the season was that the Reds would fight it out with the Sunwolves for the wooden spoon…and when it looks like that may be true everyone wants to shoot the coach or sack all the players or get new management….They are performing slightly better than expected but are still getting rubbished by those very people who said they would get the spoon. I would understand the furore if they had been expected to win the conference but they are doing what was thought they would do so I dont understand the anti thats coming out from some……not all but some…

              • Roar Guru

                April 23rd 2018 @ 6:43pm
                RobC said | April 23rd 2018 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

                yup, agree to all points Jacko

      • April 24th 2018 @ 9:44am
        MARTO said | April 24th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        How ” Magnificent ” were your Horratahs Machocka Block ? ..Struggled to beat zero at home, but they looked splendid in doing so didn`t they ?. I heard they trained very hard again, tackling pillows , stepping past witches hats and running up and down hills non stop all morning at Bronte.

        The warm down consisted of eating low Gi Brown Rye Toast with goats cheese dip, whilst sipping on skinny Almond Milk Latttes at Coogee …

        All of the above is ” Master coach” Michael Cheikas Wallabies detailed training and game plan .. Well done Horratahs …well done …..Michael would be so proud of you.


    • Roar Guru

      April 23rd 2018 @ 9:54am
      PeterK said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

      I agree Gill would improve the team a lot.

      Adding McMahon along with Gill is a mistake.

      Both players best position is 7.

      Money would be better spent elsewhere.

      The obvious areas to improve are hooker (perhaps Ready could get back up to speed, or entice Ulese or Latu who don’t want to be bench players.

      Also 10 needs improvement and the answer is simple sack BT and bring back Cooper, or force BT to give Cooper a go.

      Half is another major issue.

      The props and locks are fine. The 6 and 8 are fine at least as good as any in oz.

      No attacking direction or smarts in the backs.

      • April 23rd 2018 @ 12:16pm
        Jacko said | April 23rd 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        If QC is the answer its a stupid question…..Why stop at QC…get Larkham…or Ella….or any other decent no 10 from the past…….Why go so far backwards ….try looking forward…give DP or Stewert a decent go , At the Rebels give Maddocks a go….at canberra get hawera out and find a local Aus no 10……You will never go forward in Aus doing what has failed in the past and QC has failed for 3 years now……move on

        • April 23rd 2018 @ 12:23pm
          shooshiner said | April 23rd 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

          How good was Foley for the Tahs ? Abosolutley insipid, like he has been for the Wallabies for 4 years.

          • April 23rd 2018 @ 5:33pm
            Jacko said | April 23rd 2018 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

            Shooshine who cares on a reds article what the Tahs no 10 did?

            • April 24th 2018 @ 9:46am
              shooshiner said | April 24th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

              Jacko cos the Tahs 10 was unbelievable !!.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 23rd 2018 @ 12:51pm
        Don said | April 23rd 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

        I’m with you Peter.
        Bring back Gill – the best Aus 7.
        Not as fast as Hooper, but faster than Pocock and others. Not as strong over the ball as Pocock but better than Hooper and others. Better in the lineout than both and a better tight ball runner than both.
        Has a great pass, just need to stop him frokm kicking…

        But no need for McMahon if Gills back.

        Toomua is a guy you’d put a serious effort into securing.

        That said, this year I was hoping we’d see Ducan P tried at 10 with Kerevi and CFS in the centres.

        • April 23rd 2018 @ 9:35pm
          Bfc said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

          Harsh about LFGs kicking…our flyhalfs can’t kick, and it is their job…

      • April 23rd 2018 @ 3:23pm
        jock said | April 23rd 2018 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

        I wish people would give up on Quade Cooper. Everything I hear is that he was bad for culture, not to mention requiring “special” defensive strategies to paper over the cracks. Perhaps Cooper 2011 version but not now. As for sacking Thorn that’s a ridiculous idea based on unrealistic expectations of how long it takes to turn a whole team around (ie more than 3-6 months).

        • April 27th 2018 @ 8:10pm
          Scott said | April 27th 2018 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

          Sacking him for losses whilst rebuilding is not sensible, ignoring an option who is better than the others available for that position because you don’t want to admit you were wrong is a sacking situation. QC is the best option the Reds have at ten so he should be picked

      • April 23rd 2018 @ 9:23pm
        Ruckin Oaf said | April 23rd 2018 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

        Cooper had another very good game for Souths on the weekend. Toyed with the poor ol brethren and looked streets ahead of anybody out there.

        You’d have to be an idiot to discount him.

        Hopefully he stays fit and well in club rugby land and the Reds new coach next year doesn’t come with a massive chip (or chup) on his shoulder. 🙂

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