Reds ready to hit reset button

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

As the Reds prepare for their trip to Canberra, Nick Stiles says Saturday's clash with the Brumbies shapes as a fresh start to season 2017.

The 1-5 Queenslanders have failed to live up to the preseason hype through six Super Rugby rounds but there are signs of life at Ballymore.

They hung with the Hurricanes last Saturday and were similarly solid against the Crusaders in a tight loss and the Sharks in their season opening win.

They've also found consistent performers in Sam Talakai, Izack Rodda, Adam Korczyk and Duncan Paia'aua.Samu Kerevi has been Queensland's best player in 2017. Photo: Getty ImagesSamu Kerevi is just realising his enormous potential and Karmichael Hunt is playing his best rugby in three years.

As good as those individuals have been, the team's performances against the Force, Lions and Jaguares were abysmal and the team has not shied away from that.

But with the sad state of the Australian Conference, the Reds find themselves just one win away from the top of the tree.

With four of their next six matches against Australian opposition, Saturday's clash with the Brumbies presents as a chance to hit the reset button.

"With the way the draw is for us, it definitely feels like a second season for us," Stiles said.

"The first six weeks have been rewarding but challenging along the way with a 1-5 record.Can the Reds turn their season around in Canberra? Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We’ve been able to make real strides around what we feel is acceptable as a group and what we know is minimal standards around preparation and professionalism.

"We have full confidence that on the back of that, we are going to be able to play some positive football throughout the second half of the season."

Stiles drew a line in the sand by dropping Nick Frisby and Andrew Ready due to poor performance and off-field standards.

He hopes that will help lift his team to victory against the Brumbies, who have won a record nine consecutive conference matches.

"They understand the importance of the games, they’ve played in finals over the last number of years off the back of winning conference games, it’s that simple," Stiles said.Hamish Stewart is set to debut on Saturday. Photo: QRU MediaStiles also indicated exciting young flyhalf Hamish Stewart would be handed his first Super Rugby cap, having warmed the bench for the entire 80 minutes against the Canes.

"I didn’t want to rush him into the game last week off the back of only a couple of training sessions," he said.

"I’m a big believer that if you put a player in, you want him to succeed and you want to put him in the best position to succeed.

"I just feel now, after the sessions last week and with the experience of sitting on the bench and a full week of training this week, I’m more inclined to use him this weekend."

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