Graham confident despite injuries

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham is confident flanker Liam Gill will play in round one, despite a shoulder injury.

Gill was taken off in the 18th minute of Friday night’s trial against the Brumbies with the injury but Graham dismissed any serious concerns after the match.

“It was more a precaution, (he just got) a knock on the shoulder,” he said.

“The whole reason around not playing a trial next week was to make sure if anyone got injured tonight you could hopefully get them through to the first game.

“I can’t think of any reason why Liam wouldn’t be fit for selection.”

Graham said he was pleased with his side’s improved showing in the 31-18 loss to the Brumbies but there was still room to improve.

“It was more of an 80 minute performance than last week but you’d hope so after the number of changes we made in the first trial,” he said.

“There were probably one or two areas there we weren’t able to control the restart when we scored points, that’s an issue there for us tonight,” he said.

Graham said the Brumbies experience proved the ultimate difference in the match, with Queensland welcoming in their newest face, Japanese International Ayumu Goromaru, only last week.

“They’re a side that have played together for about five years now so their combinations are pretty sharp and they’ve got a number of good quality players who are pretty clear in the way they’re playing the game and that probably in the end was the difference.”

Stand-in captain Rob Simmons said he felt the side was gelling better after its second performance.

“I think that’s a huge improvement from last week,” he said.

“Obviously last week wet weather and everything was a bit of an issue but we’re not here to make excuses.

“We were a long way off it last week and that’s an improvement but we’ve still got a lot of improvement to do."