Reds seal season in style


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    The Queensland Reds have rounded out their most successful Super Rugby season in five years with a 48-27 victory over the Sunwolves.

    But for the second week in a row, the Sunwolves were forced to play out more than half the match with only 14 men after a contentious red card to Ed Quirk.

    It robbed them of any chance they might have had, with the Japanese outfit eventually succumbing to a seven-tries-to-three defeat on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

    Flanker Quirk was sent off in the 37th minute for what referee Ben O’Keeffe and television match official Damien Mitchelmore deemed to be foul play on Hamish Stewart.

    Replays showed Quirk, a former Reds player, made contact to Stewart’s face with a closed fist while both were on the ground – but the force with which it was delivered was so light to be almost negligible.

    Players on both sides were in disbelief when O’Keeffe eventually produced the card after a lengthy stoppage.

    Reds coach Brad Thorn said it ruined the game.

    “For me, a red card has to be massive to send someone off,” Thorn said.

    “A horrendous spear tackle, kicking someone on the ground, eye gouging, not love taps … but then maybe I’m an old relic.”

    Sunwolves coach Tony Brown described the decision as an embarrassment to the sport and saying referees were trying to “promote themselves” by making controversial calls.

    “Every rugby player who’s ever played the game is looking at that and saying it’s not a red card,” Brown said.

    “I think I’m with Michael Cheika, we need the referee in here answering these questions because he’s the only one in the world who thought that.”

    The Reds were up 22-13 at the time and missing one of their own, with Duncan Paia’aua still in the sin bin after conceding a penalty try for his deliberate knockdown in the 28th minute.

    They copped another yellow five minutes into the second half when Caleb Timu shoulder-charged a prone Hayden Parker in the head – a dangerous offence for which a red was much more deserving.

    The card controversies and the shoulder injury that ended skipper Scott Higginbotham’s night just before halftime took some of the gloss off an otherwise solid night at the office for Queensland.

    It was the Reds’ second win in a row and sixth for the season, ensuring their best return since 2013, the year they last made the Super Rugby finals.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (89)

    • July 14th 2018 @ 4:41am
      riddler said | July 14th 2018 @ 4:41am | ! Report

      congrats queensland!!

      great effort and great finish to the season..

    • July 14th 2018 @ 6:54am
      Cynical Play said | July 14th 2018 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      Last night I saw the future WB ten, Hamish Stuart. He’s the real deal. He needs to be developed. Duncan P also looks like he has a big future as a 12. The two of them are a good combo. McDermot adds his name to a list of promising 9s. There’s a lot to like about him. Rodda took the captaincy in his stride and is fast becoming Oz premier lock.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 7:26am
        riddler said | July 14th 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

        also as i asked dave during the game.. the reds backline seems to have come good when samu wasn’t there..

        like hodge, i don’t see the big wraps he gets..

        he had a very average irish series in game 1 and 2 and was okish in game 3.. yet seems to be given a free pass whereas others get crucified for far less..

        i am very happy with the backline we have now in qld.. we need a 15.. love for banks to come back home.. stiles let him go..

        a lot to look forward to with this squad..

        • Roar Rookie

          July 14th 2018 @ 8:55am
          Dave_S said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

          G’day riddler, I think the Reds we’re making a common mistake for a team with a dominant player, which is expecting Samu to do too much too often.

          He’s been heavily marked in a red jersey because frankly no-one else was offering much threat.

          Seems like a few players are coming out of their shells with him not there, but they will benefit from having him back. Just judging by body language, he seems like a guy that other players like to be around.

          I still want Samu there, either 12 or 13. The trick will be to fit Duncan, Samu and Jordan into the one backline. Maybe Duncan to 15 is the answer. I don’t know for sure, but it’s a bl00dy nice problem to have.

          Bring on 2019!

          • July 14th 2018 @ 5:56pm
            riddler said | July 14th 2018 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

            cheers dave.. i see that logic.. people used that last year for cooper..

            i agree he is a very good player but not just convinced that he is the be all and end all that some profess..

            i hope he has been sitting in the stands these past few weeks thinking ‘i have to up my game to get back into the starting xv’

            that would be great.. as for what position he plays.. i just don’t see him as a 13.. hope to be proved wrong.. but i am biased as i see a 13 a la herb..

            if he goes to 12 then where does d.p go..

            for me starting next year..

            9. moses 10. stewart 11. perese 12. d.p 13 young herbie 14. dauganu 15.banks (my dreaming i know)

            21. samu

            won’t happen.. but may happen.. we have seen that thorn doesn’t pick on reputations.. he picks being part of the greater good, the team..

            as you finished your comment.. nice problem to have…been a while since we have had some quality across the board in the backs like this..

      • July 14th 2018 @ 9:37am
        Reverse Wheel said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Def the best game I’ve seen from Stewart. I know there’s angst up in Queensland but I think Thorne is on the right track with these young guys. Sure some won’t work out, but thats ok, you build your team around those that do.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 14th 2018 @ 12:51pm
          Dave_S said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

          Yes it was his best game, more running the ball to the D and less ball-shovelling.

          A little hard to be certain because he was under less defensive pressure than in other games but it looked like a genuine improvement.

          • July 15th 2018 @ 9:53am
            Ruckin Oaf said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:53am | ! Report

            Playing against the bottom team on the ladder who are down to 14 men.

            Great yardstick.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 15th 2018 @ 2:05pm
              Dave_S said | July 15th 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

              Yes but he was still better than he was against low-ranked teams previously, and there were still defenders in front of him.

              He didn’t cut loose, but he did start to run the ball and straighten the attack a bit before distributing it. Previously he would jog a couple of steps sideways and then shovel it. I’m calling it how I saw it (and I’ve been watching him closely this year) – a genuine improvement, off a fairly low base.

      • Roar Guru

        July 14th 2018 @ 11:36am
        PeterK said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        Judging a player as of certain standard based on a game against the worst team in the comp is fraught with great room for error.

        Surely performances against stronger teams is how a player should be judged.

        Personally I would look at how players have performed against all the NZ teams, Jagueres and Sharks.

        Some head to head comps as well within the aust conference say Phillips v Hanigan v Tui as one example.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 12:51pm
          Cynical Play said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report


          I’ve seen these players all season. Not one game.

          • Roar Guru

            July 14th 2018 @ 1:07pm
            PeterK said | July 14th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            fair enough,

            it was your first line that misled me

            Last night I saw the future WB ten, Hamish Stuart.

            Personally Stewart (not Stuart) has a lot of improvements to make before he would be of good intl class as a 10.

            He may be a future Wallaby 10 but that doesn’t mean he will be any good or succeed there based on what I have seen him deliver so far.

            • July 14th 2018 @ 10:39pm
              Harry said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

              Strongly agree PeterK. For goodness sake, Stewart’s performance was good but lets face it this was against the wooden spooners. Against better teams, sadly Stewart has looked woefully out of his depth. Unfortunately due to the Quade/Hunt debacle there was no one of experience to guide this guy and protect him. IMO he is still not there as a SR standard flyhalf. It was really disappointing that he was kept in Australia rather than allowed to go early to the U20’s.
              I hope Stewart has a good NRC and continues his development. He is a long way from a test standard pivot but is certainly a good prospect.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 2:39pm
        Yenda Ad Enthusiast said | July 14th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

        Why doesn’t Brad Thorn look to play DP at 10, SK and Petaia/CFS at 12/13 and Stewart as a roaming 15? DP actually looks better at game management then Stewart atm, but Stewart could blossom under less defensive scrutiny and play 10 later abit like how Lance played his best games late in the season at 15 but still as a playmaker. Think it’d be silly to rule DP out as a potential option at 10 for the WB’s, and put all that on Stewart.We all know how the lack of competition at 10 has really helped the Wallabies as of late…

    • July 14th 2018 @ 7:18am
      riddler said | July 14th 2018 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      cp.. as i said to dave during the game.. my man crush locker is getting full!!

      jp.. petaia..rodda..

      so much to like about this team..

      we need to clean up the wastage wage packet and start paying these lads what they deserve.. will be a downer if we lose them to other states because we have 1.5m dollars playing park footy..

      • July 14th 2018 @ 10:32am
        enoughisenough said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

        Nah, no need “to clean up the wastage (sic) wage packet” they just need to utilise the talent that is in the squad and contractually paid for. There is no way that either Lance or Stewart in the 10 jersey this year are as good as Cooper, and therein lies the problem. Thorn needs to park the hubris and the hate, and utilise the squad he has inherited, like every other coach does. What makes that rookie coach think he is so special? Every coach that has ever coached a team starts with players he may not necessarily have chosen, but if he’s any good, he makes the most of the roster he’s given. Thorn has not done that this year, and its cost the Reds, in both games, and off field support. There will be as many watching Souths this weekend as there were watching the Reds last night.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 11:25am
          Jacko said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

          Twas …The Reds have had their best season since 2013….Looks like some successful selection policies right there……You ask what makes a rookie coach so special….Well I dont believe any coach is “So special” I do believe some work harder than others but the results show very clearly that the coach dropping players because of form and ability rather than pay packet size is what sets the strong ones apart from the weak ones….Its super easy for a coach just to go along with last years plan and try to improve the results by not changing anything but the decent ones do what they believe in and live or die by their choices……Looks like Thorn is doing a bit of living this season……Cooper is not setting the club scene alight and hasnt been much for the Reds since he came back from Europe…as the past few season’s results VERY CLEARLY show…..
          Thorn will need to keep the improvements going as more will be expected next year but its definately been the Reds best season for quite some time and their Capt. even referred to it in his post match chat….The best part is that the team is so young and has so much more potential…Lets see if Thorn gets that potential out of them ……

          • July 15th 2018 @ 12:16pm
            Ruckin Oaf said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            In 2017 the Reds finished 14 out of 18.

            In 2018 the Reds finished 13 out of 15.

            Black is white. Brad Thorn is a great coach. Dropping down the ladder is improving.

            Easier draw, more resources, worse result in the competition and that’s supposed to be improving.

            Heck of a world you’re living in their Jacko.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 8:31am
      Adsa said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      Great to get a win to end the season, Stewart has really come on well in his last few games at 10. Referee consistency is huge problem in the game. The Red card was a poor decision but then to give Timu only a yellow just undermines any confidence in the officials decisions.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 9:05am
        Cynical Play said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Ben O’K is the weakest ref in SR. He makes huge errors and is a blight on the game. Surely we can do better.

        • Roar Guru

          July 14th 2018 @ 11:22am
          PeterK said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          When the tmo first brought up the Quirk issue I honestly thought it was for kneeing Stewert in the back, which you can see when he is lying behind him he brings the knee up hard into his back. Also it seemed to be with force considering Stewert was hurt in the back.

          I was astounded when it turned out to be the closed fist.

          Perhaps karms since the knee may have deserved a red card but the ‘punch’ did not.

          To me the red card for the closed fist to the face is similar to the gentle ‘headbut’ that Faingaa Folau did.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 14th 2018 @ 11:45am
            Dave_S said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

            I don’t think it was even in the ‘headbutt’ territory … hopefully they’ll wake up this morning and wonder what they were thinking.

            And hopefully we won’t see them officiating any important games at the RWC

            • Roar Guru

              July 14th 2018 @ 12:00pm
              PeterK said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

              it was a closed fist striking the head / face with more force than the headbutt (which was none) so IMO yes it was in the same territory.

            • Roar Guru

              July 14th 2018 @ 12:06pm
              PeterK said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

              I have been thinking about red cards.

              IMO if there was no possibility of any injury then it should not be a red card.

              So that fake headbutt, this closed fist , and similar incidents would just be yc’s (like a knee prod with no force and so on).

              Any eye gouge can blind so thats a red card.

              Biting with a mouth card is an interesting one to be discussed as to can it actually cause injury.

              The neck rolls and spear tackles can cripple so they could be red cards.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 14th 2018 @ 12:26pm
                Dave_S said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

                Yes that would be a reasonable criterion

              • Roar Guru

                July 14th 2018 @ 12:31pm
                PeterK said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

                Dave_S – I forgot to mention my reasoning.

                The increase in rc’s has come about due to concerns about player safety, the tackling in the air, the head highs, the lifting tackles and so on.

                Since the criteria for this increase in rc’s is injury then what used to be rc’s that can’t cause injury subsequently should be down graded.

                An obvious exception is verbal abuse of a referee , pushing a referee even if no force is used.

          • Roar Guru

            July 14th 2018 @ 1:56pm
            jeznez said | July 14th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

            I remember Etzebeth getting carded for the softest ‘headbutt’ of all time on Sharpe.

            I agree with what you are saying that these ‘punches’ and ‘headbutts’ that are not going to cause any injury need to be dealt with by talking to the players and downgraded from cards given the rise in cards for knock downs and dangerous acts

    • July 14th 2018 @ 8:43am
      Chas said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      They’ll probably cite Timu now and find his hit met the red card threshhold further confusing things. Quirk red was Monty Pythonesque Some real good signs at Reds though. Rodda really impressive and years away from his best

      • Roar Rookie

        July 14th 2018 @ 10:05am
        Paul D said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Frankly, he should be cited for sheer stupidity.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 11:27am
          Jacko said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

          LOL…I think many players fit into that catagory…There would be citings everywhere if that was a citable offence

          • July 14th 2018 @ 11:34am
            Rhys Bosley said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

            There would be quite a few Roar posters cited too …

      • Roar Guru

        July 14th 2018 @ 2:04pm
        jeznez said | July 14th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

        All the chat is about the backs below but think one key focus for the Reds will have to be on a couple of backrowers for next season. How are they looking with regard to getting Sean McMahon?

        I assume they have no chance of getting Gill. Smith and Higginbotham are going to need replacing next year and/or the year after. If they retain Timu and get McMahon then I think they are still one top flight backrower short.

        Wright and Scott-Young not quite to the mark at this stage.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 14th 2018 @ 2:41pm
          Dave_S said | July 14th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

          Definitely short a good 7. I like the way Scott-Young is developing tho Jez. And maybe Tui will still play some 6?

          • Roar Guru

            July 14th 2018 @ 5:04pm
            jeznez said | July 14th 2018 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

            I’m not sold on Tui as a 6, think he can do a job for part of a game but don’t believe he’ll ever be a top line player in that position, he could be a top line player at lock. He just lacks speed compared to a topflight looseforward – hard to have it when you are over 120 kg

            Plus Douglas will be gone so someone has to partner Rodda and not sure Hockings is ready.

            • July 14th 2018 @ 6:18pm
              Dave_S said | July 14th 2018 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

              Didn’t know Douglas was going, that’s a shame he been good value this year. I agree re Tui, he’s a better lock than 6, and needed there to replace Douglas

    • July 14th 2018 @ 9:33am
      waxhead said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      Game was ruined by the Referee in 1st half when he sent off Quirk for a soft face massage.
      Deserved only a penalty at worst.
      Crazy refereeing gifted the game to Reds from then on

      • July 14th 2018 @ 9:38am
        Reverse Wheel said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Even a penalty may have been a little harsh for quirk.

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