The Reds Super 18 season is pretty much done and dusted, however moving forward tomorrow’s match in Christchurch is a chance to erase the thrashing they received there last year. As I stated earlier in the season, this side has the cattle, just lacking a lead drover.
With Richard Graham’s instant dismissal after the Queenslanders suffered a disastrous start to the 2016 season with two heavy losses from two matches; Ballymore’s swift action has reignighted the Reds’ players passion. The two head coach policy of Nick Styles and Matt O’Conner has been rewarded with success on the scoreboard and wins under their belt. Two matches that they should have won were the draw against the Auckland Blues and loss against the NSW Waratahs, both at Suncorp. The Blues match was in the bag with five minutes to go when the Reds replaced Andrew Ready to win greater dominance at scrum time, which they did resulting in a penalty. The kick for touch and resulting line-out was the correct option, but the poor throw into the line-out resulted in the Aucklanders’ turnover to rampage back into the match. Blues Head Coach, Tana Umanga, complained after the match that a poor refereeing decision by Andrew Lees to not allow advantage, that ended up with a try being scored under the posts. Later analysis showed a clear knock on by a Kiwi player.
Those two losses should have gone down as wins in the log and positive results are what the Reds fans deserve. They will desert the drowning ship in droves if massive losses become the norm, once again. Jake McIntyre & Sam Greene will be great Reds players of the future, but what is needed is a senior No. 10 to come in and motivate what is already the crystallisation of a winning Super Rugby franchise. My suggestion two years ago was to bring Frederic Michalak in, Tony Shaw thought it a great opportunity moving forward, but Sam Cordingly refused the opportunity. Now Freddy has contacted me and wants a second crack, especially if John Mulvihill is appointed head coach.