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Five things we learnt from Crusaders-Reds

Fri, 27/05/2022, 9:54 am
Jim Tucker
by Jim Tucker
The Reds failed to come away with a win over the Kiwi opposition. Photo: Getty Images
The Reds failed to come away with a win over the Kiwi opposition. Photo: Getty Images

The Queensland Reds finish the regular season with a lame 0-5 record against Kiwi opponents after making success in those matches their biggest goal of the 2022 season.

It will twist in the gut of coach Brad Thorn that there is absolutely nothing to show as progress from 2021 to 2022 apart from closing the gap and blowing two matches when have big winning chances.

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The 28-15 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch tonight included plenty of spirit and willingness but never enough clinical purpose.

So what did we learn?

1 EXTRA UNDIES FOR PLAY-OFF

The Reds players packed their bags for a potential 10-day trip when they flew out of Brisbane on Wednesday.

It was a shrewd move because they are prepared for a week in Christchurch because they’ll be playing the Crusaders again.

The Crusaders locked in the No.2 seeding for the finals. The Reds can’t be budged from No.7. That means they will duel again in a Friday night quarter-final.

2 REDS POSITIVES

Staring at a 21-3 half-time deficit, some Aussie teams would have folded 45-10 or copped an even bigger belting.

To their credit, the Reds played much better in a second half which favoured them 12-7.

You can’t ask for much more from backrowers Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight.

McReight’s workrate is phenomenal. There were 11 ball carries, 16 tackles, energy to run in the 83rd minute, plenty of Mr Pest work at the breakdown and some fine link work.

At the Reds Long Lunch in Brisbane just hours earlier, Wallabies great John Eales had saluted McReight as Michael Hooper’s eventual successor with “skills in some areas that are better already.”

Wilson just keeps having a crack. He made 18 ball carries but too often we are seeing just 40m worth of ground gained. He still has to work on footwork or deviations at the line to drive through contact more often.

Toss in another 12 tackles and saving a try on the line. He also scored that lovely Crusaders-like try when Connor Vest and McReight relayed the ball to him with quick hands on the short side.

Try-scoring hooker Richie Asiata’s footwork and energy should be noted too.

3 KICKING

Do we have to talk about how poor most of the Reds’ 29 kicks were? Yes. There was plenty of aimless rubbish in there.

The Crusaders were not at their best in this game. They will be 25 per cent better in the quarter-final so a repeat of the worst Queensland kicks will come back as seven-point plays.

4 TREASURE THE BALL

The Reds have played maybe two games to their potential all season. Not treasuring the ball enough is a constant handbrake.

Early in the second half, the Reds bungled a 5m lineout and also made nothing of flyhalf Lawson Creighton cutting the line in the Kiwi quarter.

You can’t miss those chances if you want to win in Christchurch for the first time since 1999.

5 PETAIA AT OUTSIDE CENTRE

We wouldn’t know. One of the biggest weapons for Queensland was barely used which was a travesty.

If the Reds plan to win this quarter-final against all odds, he has to be involved.

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