Reds embrace 'Goatee Week' team bonding ahead of Moana Pasifika litmus test

Thu, Apr 11, 2024, 4:00 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey
Liam Wright scores in Round 4 of Super Rugby Pacific 2024

Things are getting hairy inside camp Queensland but co-captain Liam Wright says a little team bonding goes a long way ahead of Friday’s clash with Moana Pasifika.

The Reds’ annual Goatee Week has produced some impressive and questionable growths with Zane Nonggorr a clear winner (click here for Jeffery Toomaga-Allen's excellent goatee rankings video).

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It’s a breath of fresh air following two deflating losses before the bye with Wright highlighting a need to reset and enjoy each other’s company on the road.

“We’re all keeping it. You would’ve seen Zane Nonggorr’s come through this week,” Wright told media on Thursday.

“He’s won by a country mile but a lot of the guys have got around it and some staff too. It’s a fun week and it’s just a way to keep building that culture and connection … and show it visibly.

“It’s never fun going into a bye after two losses. We made a big point of recognising we’ve only been under these coaches and Les for a short time now so the things we’re building will still build over this next period.

Liam Wright sporting his annual Reds 'Goatee Week' look ahead of Queensland's Super Rugby clash with Moana Pasifika. Picture: Reds Media Unit

“This game’s an important one for us to get back on track and go back to playing some of the consistent football with less errors than we’ve had in the past few weeks, which have probably cost us.”

The Reds-Moana clash launches a four-week campaign against NZ opponents and looms a litmus test for Queensland, who sit 3-3 despite their promising start to the season.

Wright said his side needed to front up physically if they’re to re-route their season in a milestone game for teammate Ryan Smith.

“(Moana) have a very good tight five and front row, Sekope Kepu on the bench there for them, so we’ve got to front up as forwards physically and around the park to hopefully create space for our backs and just be able to take the opportunities we create,” Wright said. 

“Smitty’s 50th is a big week for us. He brings a lot of energy to the team, he’s come through all the grades, done all the hard work and he’s been a grafter for us.

“Tough year last year with his shoulder but he battled through for us and I think he’s shown the real good footy he can play this year.”