Rebels vs Reds: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds kept their season alive when they staved the Rebels off in a thriller at AAMI Park tonight.

Here's what we learned from the Aussie conference clash.

1. Reds learn from late brain fades

The Reds saved face tonight. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Crusaders and Waratahs games have stuck in the mind of the Reds, who refused to lose despite the match taking similar shape to the aforementioned games.

When Marika Koroibete scored to level the scores at 24-all with 10 minutes to play, the smart money would have been on the Rebels to roll over the top of the Reds.

They crumbled like a horse setting a hot pace in several matches and looked to be doing so again tonight.

But the Queenslanders defended like their season depended on it, worked the ball back into the Rebels 22 and even after Scott Higginbotham spilled a sitter over the line, Samu Kerevi got one-on-one with Will Miller to score the sealer.

A season-defining win for the Reds.

2. Koroibete, Rebels can’t kick

Marika Koroibete would have been able to count the number of kicks he had in general play with the Storm on one hand.

His two tonight put the Rebels in horrible defensive situations and cost them one try.

For a player that is so explosive with ball in hand, there is no way he should kick in a situation where he has 30 metres of open space in front of him.

McGahan described the whole team's general play kicking as "horrible" post match and that sums it up best.

3. Miller, Sinclair are stars of the future

Will Miller has starred for the Rebels since making the move from Sydney. Photo: Getty ImagesFor two blokes playing Shute Shield at the start of 2017, Will Miller and Hugh Sinclair have looked like seasoned veterans since entering the Rebels fold.

Miller is a prototypical Australian openside flanker - hard as nails and an elite fetcher that refuses to shirk physicality.

Sinclair is similarly fearless and regularly makes bone crunching tackles.

The Northern Suburbs pair are angling for bigger and better things in 2017 and beyond.

4. Reds bench a booster

Nick Stiles has harped on about the lack of impact his bench has provided but that was eradicated tonight.

Kirwan Sanday, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda and Adam Korczyk all had impactful touches of the football and defended like their spots on the pine depended on it.

Korczyk made one try saver as the Rebels threatened to break loose, Rodda is a force in attack and Sanday and Tupou always put their hands up for extra work.

Some bright young talent starting to emerge.

5. Hodge heroic for Rebels

Reece Hodge is the full package.

He seems to have so much time with the ball in hand as he seizes up the defensive line and decides whether he should run, kick or pass.

He has line breaking potential with every touch, a solid pass on either side and a booming right foot that kept the Rebels in the match in the first 40.