While only an early pre-season game, Queensland looked the goods in Friday’s match-up against the Melbourne Rebels.
Fielding a close to full strength team in muggy Gladstone, The Reds ran away with a 57-5 win against albeit an understrength Rebels squad, with Filipi Daugunu showcasing how to finish with five meat pies, and Bryce Hegarty proving a sharp shooter with six conversions.
Super Rugby, Queensland Rugby Union and the Rugby Australia should be happy with a decent crowd after inclement weather showing up in the heart of rugby league.
The match started as expected with the mismatch of starters for the Reds and potentials for the Rebels, with a strong forward dominance from the Reds converting to some fantastic finishing touches in the backs, with Filipi Daugunu showing both an ability to score some fantastic individual brilliance, and the ability to link and support.
His link with Tate McDermott from a sublime backhand flick meant that every time the dynamic halfback made a break, the Rebels were at attention.
As an ex front rower,the forward dominance in the first half, and the second try from the Reds, was a pleasure to watch.
A win against the feed, a dominant maul setup by hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa,and a march to the try line by said dominant nail leading to a try, warmed the cockles of this die hard believer in rugby’s need for competitive scrums.
The second half led to a more even affair, especially upfront, as both coaches made changes to their starting squads, but the Reds were still able to continue their dominance, albeit while still keeping some key and core players on the park. Of particular concern for Rebels coach Dave Wessels was the lineout, with many throws going astray without much competition from the Reds.
Concerns at the start of the season about cementing in a Flyhalf, seemed abated, with some strong guidance and backup coming from returnee James O’Connor, in support of Isaac Lucas. Both scrum halves looked dangerous at times, and while bringing a different game to the table, should benefit from a hopefully continuation of a dominant pack.
Here’s to hoping the Reds can continue both this flair from the back, on the base of a strong front.