Righting the Reds’ ship

Cam Stokes Roar Pro

By Cam Stokes, Cam Stokes is a Roar Pro

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95 Have your say

    These are not easy days to be a Queensland Reds fan.

    Sitting through the debacle that was the humbling 63-28 demolition at the hands of the Sunwolves on Saturday afternoon was a painful experience, from the first phase right through to the last. Pundits are piling on, and that can’t be a surprise, as they have been given plenty of ammunition by such an inept performance.

    The difficult question now, though, is where to from here? What answers can the Reds find before next Friday night, when a frighteningly good Hurricanes team lies in wait in Wellington?

    Is there anything the Reds can do to avoid another massacre? Perhaps not, but a few key changes must be made quickly to start pointing the team in the right direction.

    Ben Lucas simply cannot be rewarded with another start after his diabolical first half against the Sunwolves. A loyal servant who has returned home this year, Lucas repeatedly put the game on a platter for the opposition in the opening 40, offering numerous charge downs, an intercept when on attack, even kicking the ball into his own player’s back.

    He simply doesn’t offer enough threat to justify these mistakes. Moses Sorovi must be given an opportunity to run a game from the kickoff. While there will still be the odd mistake in his game, he does offer a threat with ball in hand, and experience will help him iron out the errors.

    It’s time to bite the bullet and give him a decent run in the 9.

    Outside him, Hamish Stewart must be reinstated at flyhalf. Again, he is still prone to the odd error, but his control and kicking game in the win over the Lions, as well as his line busting ability, demands that he be given the reigns and allowed to find his feet at first receiver.

    His maturity means that he won’t be scarred by learning in the deep end, and while Brad Thorn has tried to protect him, he has to now acknowledge that he is the future of this team, and we need the future to start now. Jono Lance offers good cover on the bench and can shadow Stewart for the rest of this year until he heads overseas.

    Perhaps riding out the season at fullback is also an option for Lance, a position he is familiar with, and one where he can still offer support for Stewart with his kicking game.

    Chris Feauai-Sautia was one of the most talented juniors Queensland has ever produced, but it is time for us to realise that his undoubted potential will never be realised at the top level. He floats in and out of games, he falls off tackles and is often seen jogging when he should be sprinting.

    Chris Feauai-Sautia

    (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

    The rare flashes of tackle-busting brilliance are not occurring often enough to justify his place anymore. Samu Kerevi needs to move back out to the number 13, where he will hopefully remember that his greatest skill is running hard, not skipping up to the defence in two minds like he does from inside centre.

    At 12, the Reds need to reinstall second playmaker Duncan Paia’aua. His cameo in Japan showed promise, and with Stewart at 10, another ball player would be handy. The two young wingers are both worth persevering with, but a fully fit Izaia Perese would also demand selection.

    Hopefully, that is not too far away.

    Up front, there is hope. With so many unavailable in the pack, it’s not surprising the young Reds struggled on Saturday. Thorn should be admired for taking a hard line with the Smith twins, Ruan and JP, but the sooner they are back in the scrum the better.

    Isaak Rodda looks like a future Reds skipper, and he continues to impress every week with his work rate and toughness. Kane Douglas has rediscovered some of his best form, but clearly, the Reds need Lukhan Tui to take up the mantle quickly.

    Angus Scott-Young and Liam Wright show promise, but Adam Korczyk has failed to grasp his opportunities over a number of seasons. George Smith is still world class and justifies his place on form, but he needs the hard running of Caleb Timu alongside him to take some pressure off.

    With Alex Mafi continuing to botch lineout throws, it would be very interesting to know exactly what Andrew Ready needs to do to be considered by Thorn again. On talent alone, he should demand a spot in the 23, but he seems to be offside with the coach, as he was with Nick Stiles last year.

    Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Taniela Tupou continue to offer set-piece strength and running threat, but again, their focus should be the elimination of basic errors. This is a pack that needs to be given time to mature, and in three years could be world class.

    The question will be, do Queensland fans have the patience?

    Supporting such a young, inexperienced team will always produce disappointing days like Saturday, and the easy answer is to be angry. That’s not an emotion I am unfamiliar with as a Reds fan.


    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    The focus must be solutions, though. Not throwing the baby out with the bathwater by declaring that Thorn will never be a good coach, clearly a misguided notion. Certainly not calling for the recall of players that we have been told won’t be wearing Red this year, and wouldn’t fix the problems anyway.

    The skeleton of a really good team is starting to be built, and it is dark days like Saturday that will, hopefully, teach them some valuable lessons. They’ve got six days to show they are paying attention.

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    The Crowd Says (95)

    • May 13th 2018 @ 3:01am
      Rhys Bosley said | May 13th 2018 @ 3:01am | ! Report

      I like the constructive tone of the article, but I don’t know why people here think that selections are the be all and end all to a better performance. The major problems today were stupid defensive, handling and disciplinary errors from players who we have seen do better.

      Basically the Reds underestimated the Sunwolves and got punished accordingly. I don’t think shuffling the deck chairs will make a difference unless that changes, but I also think the players attitude will change after this humiliation. The Reds aren’t remotely likely to beat the Canes, but I would like to see them give them a good run for their money.

      • May 13th 2018 @ 10:59am
        enoughisenough said | May 13th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        Selections might not be the “be all and end all” of performance, but they go part way, and those selections are Thorns responsibility. Instead of looking at players with proven performance and taking his responsibility for coaching them, he just simply says, we are moving in a different direction “they don’t fit in my plans”. Cooper, Frisby and Ready are three who are far better credentialed and performed players than their struggling replacements, yet Thorn seems to be saying he can’t coach them. When does this coach take responsibility for coaching the best players in his squad, not just those that worship at the feet of ex AB Thorn. Good players are often difficult to coach Thorn, how about you start to do what you are paid for, and what you have been angling for for these last few years. The new direction seems as much backwards as it is forwards.

        • May 13th 2018 @ 12:58pm
          Rebellion said | May 13th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          Massively agree on most of the player reviews, especially CFS. This guy shows what’s wrong about the culture of the Reds. He has loads of talent but couldn’t care less about the club or it’s values.
          I’ve heard he along with a few others never show a care in the world in the dressing room after losses (from an ex-Reds Major Sponsor)

          One Reds player I think has been overrated (if that’s even possible) is Duncan P.
          When did our standards sink so low to consider such a toothless tiger a ‘promising player’?

          The Reds need a class openside, flyhalf, inside centre and fullback before dreaming of climbing off the bottom of the ladder again a la 2010

          • May 13th 2018 @ 3:07pm
            Akari said | May 13th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

            Duncan P would be most welcome at the Brumbies, Rebellion.

            • Roar Guru

              May 13th 2018 @ 10:26pm
              RobC said | May 13th 2018 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

              Keep your hands off him Akari!! 😆

    • May 13th 2018 @ 6:56am
      Drongo said | May 13th 2018 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      Unless you are God, the coach isn’t listening. That is where he gets his inspiration from. He has said so himself. Probably a direct line that said ‘Thou shall not select Quade Cooper’. And ‘Get my spokesperson in the team next season’. Don’t think Christianity is very big in Japan. The direct line was broken. Too much static for Brad to get the message he should send on a few replacements before half time.

      • May 13th 2018 @ 10:17am
        Jacko said | May 13th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        Seriously Drono???? What a Drongo

        • May 13th 2018 @ 1:12pm
          Drongo said | May 13th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

          Absolutely seriously, I meant every word. Except the part about replacements, he should have just left the starting 15 on for the whole match. Because Bradley is really on the ball, a smart guy with unlimited coaching potential. He just needs 23 Brad Thorn clones for them to be able to execute his game plan. Just hope they don’t spend too much time arguing over the broom after each match.

        • May 13th 2018 @ 5:48pm
          Jacko said | May 13th 2018 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

          But QC is a christian himself isnt he>>>so Thorn the Christian is not selecting QC the Christian???? Such dribble

          • May 13th 2018 @ 9:10pm
            tyrone said | May 13th 2018 @ 9:10pm | ! Report

            maybe he is too close to his muslim brother SBW

    • May 13th 2018 @ 7:20am
      Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | May 13th 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      The author encourages fans to not throw ‘ the baby out with the bathwater by declaring that Thorn will never be a good coach, clearly a misguided notion. Certainly not calling for the recall of players that we have been told won’t be wearing Red this year, and wouldn’t fix the problems anyway.’

      Sooo, because the coach sticks to his highly contentious decision (some would call this stubbornness) to bar a certain attacking 10 , whilst the Reds attack withers on the vine, the inclusion of this player currently being laid 650k per year ‘wouldn’t fix the problems anyway’.
      Hard to argue with that Cam. You offer no reasoning to refute.
      Brad is perfect. Never makes a poor call. Does not know how to. He won a World Cup you know.
      He knows everything about the Reds and being part of the coaching team that is developing OZ rugby.
      We should be more grateful.

      And Rhys calls for an ‘attitude’ change hot on the heels of his recent article celebrating the superiority of Thorn’s ‘attitude’ coaching, amongst other wonders of the former AB’s coaching genius. Which attitude is it that we are all waiting for now?
      Prejudice needs no evidence, Rhys. Just label anyone (including a Red and WB legend), who questions one wild decision by a rookie coach, as a ‘whinger’ and there you go – presto! Argument won. Brad is perfect and Quade is goneski!
      Despite the evidence that one of them knows how to create winning attack in Queensland, and one doesn’t.
      And one has beaten the Sunwolves in a Reds jersey, and one hasn’t.
      And that one stubborn rookie coach has just created a wonderful historical record – for the other team.
      Do you think that Reds training will be tough this week? Imagine the coach’s meeting with the suits. Eek! 😬

      Meanwhile Souths remain undefeated 🤓.

      • May 13th 2018 @ 9:47am
        Charlie Turner said | May 13th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Ken, nice rant and I agree with all of it except Souths lost away to GPS yesterday, without Cooper.

        • May 13th 2018 @ 12:03pm
          Digs said | May 13th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

          GPS did a great job and were the first side to really give some trouble to Souths this year. They had a great rush defence added with lots of niggle put Souths off their game. Souths should persist with the Quade ball though (akin to Harlem globetrotters and far more enjoyable to watch than the reds), a little better execution / skills and more experience in handling the niggle, plus improving fitness as the year goes on and they’ll be hard to beat. Impressed by GPS as well, and with University they are definitely the three contenders for the finals. Loving watching club rugby, reds … well not so much.

        • May 13th 2018 @ 1:13pm
          Drongo said | May 13th 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

          It was a pretty good game of club rugby. Didn’t hear anyone worshipping a coach either.

          • May 13th 2018 @ 5:50pm
            Jacko said | May 13th 2018 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

            Clearly you wernt there…Coach worshipping was happening all over the field

    • May 13th 2018 @ 7:27am
      Dave_S said | May 13th 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Cam, agree with most of that.

      For me, the most pressing need is for some attacking threat from the halves. ATM the Reds have none. I don’t need to see ‘clever’ tries as such. But at the moment the opposition D is allowed to stay too settled and it shows in the types of tries we are scoring – lots of forwards pushing or burrowing over from close range.

      Unsettle the D a bit and take the run out of their legs a little sooner, open up a few more gaps for Kerevi, Timu, TT Duncan P and Daugunu to do their work. All are great ball runners but atm there is a lot of one-out running or opportunistic running and not much else.

      Stewart is still ordinary but I agree he needs to go back to 10, hopefully by next year he is more settled and ready to be a SR-class 10. He needs to be schooled on taking the ball to the D line. Atm he mostly jogs sidesways and hands the ball off like a quarterback.

      When he has a run himself he’s quite effective, but it’s too infrequent and the D can see what he and the next ball receiver are doing from 10-20m away.

      Agree also Duncan P back to 12 for some more playmaking.

    • May 13th 2018 @ 7:35am
      Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | May 13th 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      Btw, I feel sorry for Thorn. He is doing a fine job in most areas of coaching. He is an admirable character.

      But he doesn’t deserve the messiah status that some have granted him. And celebrations of his decision making infallibility seem premature to say the least.
      He has failed to clearly explain his exclusion of Cooper, a proven attack resource. And has created no visible alternate attack plan since.
      It is Thorn it seems who has thrown the baby out with the bath water, Cam.

      • Roar Guru

        May 13th 2018 @ 9:51am
        PeterK said | May 13th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        very good post

        Once again BT has failed , since he stated the focus is on set piece (tick for that), and defence (big fail).

        The reds reflect their coach, a lot of brawn little brain. Also they have one plan one method, if it doesn’t work well do it harder.

        The plus side in general the attitude and effort of the reds is fine, they tried to the end in this game, and played hard. This also reflects BT.

        • May 13th 2018 @ 10:21am
          Jacko said | May 13th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          peter its funny how you constantly say every loss reflects the coach yet every win reflects the potential of the players…I wonder what your agenda is….NOT

          • Roar Guru

            May 13th 2018 @ 10:49am
            PeterK said | May 13th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

            no I credited BT with the wins

    • May 13th 2018 @ 7:49am
      Bigbaz said | May 13th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      One day Cooper will write a book , can’t wait

      • May 13th 2018 @ 4:47pm
        Markie362 said | May 13th 2018 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

        Well hes not smart enough to read one

        • May 14th 2018 @ 6:51am
          Bigbaz said | May 14th 2018 @ 6:51am | ! Report

          He’s smart enough to get AR to pay Him 650 k a year to play club rugby , plenty smart I’d say

      • May 13th 2018 @ 5:51pm
        Jacko said | May 13th 2018 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

        someone will have to write it for him

        • May 13th 2018 @ 9:12pm
          tyrone said | May 13th 2018 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

          you seem to forget that David Warner is a best selling author, pretty sure Cathy Freeman also managed to write a book

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