How did the Queensland Reds' 2016 season go?
15th overall (4th Australian conference, - 3 wins, 1 draw, 11 losses, 3 bonus points, PD -168)
What went right?
There were few things for the Reds to cling onto in 2016 but the emergence of some young players would be one silver lining. Nick Frisby and Samu Kerevi earned their Wallabies debuts this season, while young hooker Andrew Ready made himself a key player in the side with a standout season, stepping up in the absence of Saia Fainga'a. The other area that continues to give Reds fans hope is their set piece. They again had some of the best lineout stats in Super Rugby – now they just need to add some attack.
What went wrong?
Most things. A coach out the door after two rounds left the Reds with little choice but to just throw every bit of effort into the rest of their season. Their attack looked lost at times, with plenty of inexperienced players working their way through a baptism of fire. Injuries and a handful of looming player departures compounded some of the on-field pain, in a year that they would be hoping will end up a blip on the radar.
Samu Kerevi has transformed himself from a rising star to a legitimate franchise player this season, sparking a struggling Reds attack. The 22-year-old led all Australian comers in defenders beaten this season (62) and also finished in the top 10 for run metres (968). His defence is probably still something to work on but he is a scintillating attacking force with plenty of upside.
Who is going?
The biggest loss of all for Queensland next year is that of flanker Liam Gill, off to Toulon. Gill has been the Reds' best for the past two seasons and to seeing him go to France at just 24 will be painful for Reds fans as much as the club. He's not the only one heading off, though, Ben Daley (Force), Curtis Browning (Lyon), Jake Schatz (released), Greg Holmes (Exeter), Saia Fainga'a (Brumbies) and Ant Fainga'a (Japan) are all leaving Queensland at the end of the season. Japanese recruit Ayumu Goromaru has already gone.
The big coup would be Quade Cooper. The flyhalf has been in Toulon for a season but is coming home and the Reds have made it very clear they have room for him should he want to return. Outside of that, there's no shortage of big names coming to Ballymore in 2017 -Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, cult hero George Smith and Bath backrower Leroy Houston are all already locked in.Moore and Smith especially will bring invaluable experience to what is still a very green team.
He's heading off to Perth, but Ben Daley has been the standout social performer for the Reds this season.