Reds keeping close eye on Genia

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Rebels recruit Will Genia can expect a few verbal barbs when he faces his old club on Friday night.

Genia's first game in the blue, white and red of Melbourne will be against the Reds at AAMI Park, a role reversal Scott Higginbotham knows all too well.

Genia wasn't shy in dishing a few sledges Higginbotham's way when the No. 8 took his talents south in 2013 and the new Reds skipper cheekily suggested he may repay the favour.

"Probably not the same (level of) lip as when I wear I was wearing the red, white and blue jersey, to be honest," Higginbotham said with a laugh.

"It's just great to see Will back playing.Genia will sport the red, white and blue for the first time on Friday. Photo: Melbourne Rebels Media"It's great to see him up and going for the first round."

The Reds will be acutely aware of the danger Genia presents and Higginbotham said his side will "take care" of the Wallabies halfback at the breakdown.

"Everyone knows how he plays," he said.

"He's been the starting Wallabies halfback for - besides his time away - five or six years now.

"There's a lot of footage to watch on him which is good but we will be able to take care of him in and around the ruck."

One of the men charged with making Genia's evening as tough as possible is Izack Rodda, who has been rushed straight back into the starting XV having not played a minute since October.Izack Rodda is back. Photo: Walmsley"I think you come back from injury and if you're ready to play, that's it, you're ready to play," Higginbotham said.

"That's Thorny's call - to throw him straight in there - and Rods is pumped.

"He's really keen to get out there."

The start of another year marks another year of fresh hope for Queensland's tortured fan base and Higginbotham said there was no need to preach patience.

"I think the biggest difference is that it's a whole new team - a whole new squad," he said.

"A lot of new faces and a lot of inexperience but I think that's what's exciting about it.

"I think you'll definitely see a big difference this year compared to last year.

"I don't think they need to be patient - what will be will be."

The Reds face the Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.