Hunt, Reds wary of Rebels side fighting for survival

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds are wary of a Rebels team that is fighting for Super Rugby survival as Queensland fights to save its season.

You wouldn't know it by looking at their 2-8 record but the Reds are still a puncher's chance of playing finals football in 2017.

That says more about the state of Australian Super Rugby and Queensland's capacity to lose tight tussles than it does about their form and Stiles has changed things up this week to try and keep his players sharp.

The team walked through a very light captain's run this afternoon after some heavier sessions to start the week - a response to a sub par second half against the Chiefs.

Stiles' fullback, Karmichael Hunt, is as wary of staying mentally sharp through a loss-heavy season as he is of a Rebels team deprived of success.


The Reds are 8-4 against the Rebels since their inception in 2011 but Melbourne won both clashes last season, making them a prickly opponent for the Queenslanders.

"The games that we've played (against the Rebels), they sort of just hang around and hang around and then they'll score points on you when you least expect it," Hunt said.

"For us, it's just about discipline.

"We've been talking about it since round one and I don't just mean discipline as in penalties - that's a part of it - but more so discipline when it comes to our team structure, the way we want to play the game and the way we want to exit from our own end.

"The way we want to play in the middle of the ground - I think we tend to drop away and give the ball to opposition in times that we should be putting pressure on them and then they put points on us."

Young guns Izaia Perese and James Tuttle have been left out of the starting XV and Hunt said that was nothing more than part of their natural learning curve.James Tuttle won't play rugby this weekend. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"With youth, you get a lot of energy but you get a little bit of inexperience as well," he said.

"That's just the way it is - that's the way I was when I was young.

"I think you see it with guys coming into the team full of energy, they play well and then sometimes they just drop off a little bit."

Tuttle won't play club rugby this week but he will return during the bye next Saturday.

His omission presents a golden opportunity for Nick Frisby.

"I've seen a different Nick over the past month," Hunt said.

"His energy around training has been fantastic and he's been in a tough spot this year but over the last month I've really seen a change in his attitude and how he has gone about his football."

The Reds take on the Rebels at AAMI Park tomorrow night, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and on radio at RUGBY.com.au. For tickets, head to melbournerebels.com.au.

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