Five things we learnt from Reds - Force

Sat, May 25, 2024, 12:00 PM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey

The Queensland Reds have secured fifth spot on the Super Rugby ladder after demolishing the Western Force 59-13 in Brisbane.

Saturday night loomed a litmus test for the Reds following last week’s 28-19 loss to Fijian Drua in Suva and the Queenslanders passed with flying colours as emerging cult hero Tim Ryan – aka the Junkyard Dog – spearheaded an eight-try rout.

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Here's what we learnt:

1. A "complete performance"

Tate McDermott summed it up perfectly in the post-game with Stan Sport - the Reds have been chasing excellence in 2024 but haven't delivered a "complete performance".

Suffice to say they were damn close on Saturday night.

Tim Ryan finished with a hat-trick (more on that later) while Fraser McReight (two), Matt Faessler, Josh Nasser, Seru Uru and Jock Campbell all crossed the chalk in a lop-sided affair at Suncorp Stadium.

Coach Les Kiss will doubtless be just as impressed with the Reds' defence, which held firm until the 78th minute as Bayley Kuenzle crossed for a consolation try.

It's looking increasingly like a Chiefs-Reds quarter final in Hamilton looms - and won't that be a ripper.

2. The Junkyard Dog does it again

It almost beggars belief that a dream starting debut against the Blues last month could be replicated but the Junkyard Dog did it again for Queensland.

Another hat-trick has rocketed his tally to nine tries in just eight Super Rugby appearances and all of tonight's were top shelf.

Ryan won the aerial battle against former Aus U20s teammate Ronan Leahy for his first after five minutes, showed true gas for his second after half time and ran the perfect line off James O'Connor for his third in the dying minutes.

Eagle-eyed viewers would have spotted a pack of Junkyard Dog-shirt wearing supporters and why not - Tim Ryan's the toast of Brisbane right now.

Don't say it but perhaps, just maybe, whisper it in hushed tones - Wallabies bolter?

3. "Disappointing" Force need some soul-searching

Force captain Jeremy Williams didn't have a lot to say post-game with Stan Sport - but what he did spoke volumes.

"It was a tough night, really disappointed. We didn't have any dominance around the contact areas," he told Morgan Turinui.

And he's bang on - the Force showed glimpses during the first half but faded dramatically and conceded ground on all fronts, not at all helped by a pair of yellow cards.

"We've got to stay tight, recover, review. Have a good look in the mirror and flush it."

Sound advice from Williams - the Force aren't done yet (tomorrow's Highlanders-Drua result pending) and will likely play for their season against the Brumbies next week at home.

4. Maroon tinge looms in Wallaby gold

While the third-placed Brumbies should have the lion's share, expect a fair whack of Queenslanders in Joe Schmidt's squad to face Wales and Georgia.

Fraser McReight and Matt Faessler were again outstanding for the Reds and will surely don the gold jersey while Liam Wright and Ryan Smith should be in consideration for their tireless work in tight.

In the backline, Jock Campbell and Josh Flook would be unlucky to miss an initial squad off the back of another strong showing in maroon while Hunter Paisami and Tate McDermott loom likely starters.

All eight were class acts as the Reds tipped their Force hoodoo on its head following a Round 5 loss and an earlier defeat in this year's trials.

5. Depth on display as Reds eye quarters

With fifth place locked away and the Force well contained, Queensland looked to their bench and found it more than willing.

Josh Nasser continues to impress as a hooking option while Zane Nonggorr is a luxury item to bring on as reserve tighthead.

Joe Brial also enjoyed minutes with John Bryant excelling in Harry Wilson's absence and coach Les Kiss should be comfortable in testing his side's depth against the struggling Waratahs next week in Sydney.

NSW's injury woes are well documented and while a interstate clash is never in the bank, the Reds could well use their Round 15 match-up as a chance to unleash those aforementioned as starters alongside Kalani Thomas, James O'Connor, and more.