11:00pm, Sat 2nd, March, 2002
Referee: Tapa Henning
Reds 34 : Blues 23
It started to rain in the morning and only stopped about 15min before the kick off and consequently the ball was as hard to control as the greased pig at a hillbilly picnic.
The Blues dominated the opening minutes and had 2 tries within 10 minutes and Qld was looking all lost at sea. Robinson was outstanding for the Blues. He provided quick and clean ball to Spencer and he was all over Rauluni like the English forward pack over the Wantabee forwards. (Yes I am still pissed off)
Robinson harassed Rauluni and he must be having nightmares about him still. After Robinson was injured and Devine replaced him the Blues lost direction and started to come apart at the seams. Devine didnít put the pressure on his opposing number and the Reds benefited.
After the disastrous start by the Reds they fought back well and started to dominate the game. The best show of intent was when Qld were 14 nil down and had a penalty straight in front and they went for the sideline. Now that was an encouraging sign for the crowd. Consequently the tries started to come and Qld toughened up its defence and broke the Blues heart.
Once this occurred the Blues set pieces (excluding the lineouts) went to pieces. The Blues scrum was appalling at one stage with the Blues getting pinged for screwing around. I personally reckon it was because Stiles was going forward while Dyson was capitulating but I wasnít going to complain to the ref.
As alluded to by other commentators the re-starts were one way traffic for the Reds.
After enjoying Ballymore I then went home to watch the tape and can someone tell me WTF was a kiwi commentator doing in Australia? For #### sake you blokes give us enough **** over the depth in our playing ranks but now its our commentators as well. If you want to give us **** about our commentators go and pick on the Ch 7 commentary team and leave the Foxtel ones alone.
A few comments on the Reds team
The Reds loosies were dynamic and special mention goes to T. Kefu and Croft. Croft must have scared the Blues to death as after his first blood bin he started to resemble Hannibal Lecter. After his second blood bin he had new headgear and after the third visit to the blood bin he had on new headgear and a red racing strip on the bandaging. I donít know if it made him go any faster but he had another blinder in the R&M.
While T. Kefu was simply brilliant again.
Another Qld forward that deserves particular mention is Nathan Sharpe. He was dynamic with his running and ball winning displays during the game. He still isnít John Eales but so far itís not a bad imitation.
However, Stiles is suffering from the 2nd year uni student syndrome at the moment and needs to learn to shut the #### up and just play his game.
The Reds backs
It is great to see Tune back (now 2 weeks without injury) and on a whole the backs played well but Latham needs to learn to kick the ball out. Latham WTF were you doing on at least 5 occasions you failed to find the sideline on penalties.
S. Kefu had a mixed night. He had several telling runs and broke the gain line several times but he also had a bit of a shocker with some of his options and passing (i.e. the forward pass to Herbert).
The jury is still out on Sailor as yes he makes easy meters up the guts and his leg drive gets the Reds over the gain line every time but it was his inability to regather the ball that makes him look like Lomu. I think even Cribb was a bit shocked at his size and strength. Sailor also cuts back into the field of play instead of trying to burn the opposition off with speed. All I know is that Nalatu must be seriously pissed off and being dropped back to the Qld B side as currently Sailor is in the Reds as the QRU draw card and not on form.
Another interesting kick from Flatley after the first try. The only problem I have with Flatley kicking is the occasional lack of distance. So far this season he has missed one kick. Keep up the good work as its nice when a try is a guaranteed 7 points.
The last try was iffy to say the least but with the number of tries butchered by the Reds (damn rain), the Blues were lucky it was only 4 tries. The Reds are still using the pass back on the inside from Flatley to either Tune or Latham to make easy meters up the guts. One day the opposition will wake up to it.
It was a great turn around after the pre-season game and all I can say is don't forget to pick the Reds next week as its going to be the third week in a row that the Chief's will lose.
Side note well done to all Aussie sides. A clean sweep. Should I mention failure to expand the Super 12? Nar I just wait until the Aussie sides are ranked 1, 2, 3 after the finals.
P.S. hey Barge your boys might offer some competition this year. They are looking good just donít forget that you're our bunnies though.