Reds v Brumbies
Sat 22 Feb 2003
6:30 (Qld Time) Ballymore
Full time Qld 19 Brumbies 22
Half time Qld 10 Brumbies 9
Damn it the injuries really took the game away from Qld before they even got onto the park. Flatley does something in his knee in the last run before the game and then Fairbanks rolls his ankle during the warm up.
While I couldnít get to the game as my daughter started doing a Linda Blair impersonation after she saw the Blues totally outmuscle the Tahs. Canít really blame her on that one. It also meant that I didnít have to sit it the downpour that had been going for the last three days.
The game starts and before I even manage to take my first proper sip Latham has charged through the Brumbies and has scored a try. Welcome back Roff. This brings back memories of the quickest try that I have ever seen that was scored by Jason Little crossing against the ABís straight after the kick off. Not a bad start, I think to myself as I enjoy Huxley bisecting the black dot.
Seconds later I am having heart palpitations as what the hell is this? Huxleyís cross kick to Tune in our own 22 could have really opened up the game. What the hell has Slack done to the Reds? If he makes them into an offensive team he is going to rock the establishment! Unfortunately Tune knocked on! But if thatís going to be the standard this year, I am going to enjoy it.
Stiles soon realises the benefits of not throwing a punch when you are the one pinned to the ground and gets what he deserves. I must admit I didnít realise that this was a tactical ploy by Stiles that eventually lead to the red carding of the Darwin with 30 min to go.
Dickinson decided he wanted to even up the match as often as possible and enjoyed with great gusto sending people off left right and centre as long as it evened up the numbers. What did shit me though was that once he gave out the red card that the brumbies kept getting away with repeated warnings despite sending Kefu to the bench. 5 minutes later Smith does the same thing and only gets a penalty. Smith I think was warned about 7 times in that match yet Sharpe gets pinned and spends time on the bench for preventing the ball being played once.
I couldnít get over the fact that Mortlock didnít miss a kick for the night. I mean this sort of thing isnít on. Itís like the Bulls winning a game! These things just shouldnít happen.
I did enjoy watching Valentine in his first real match for Qld and he does look as though he could be the goods. The only real blemish on his game were those 2 kicks out on the full. He also did fairly well around an unstable scrum (especially when Sharpe was having a breather) and he looks to have a very good passing game that has about 3-4 meters on distance and is far quicker than either Cordingly or Rauluni. This really let Huxley have more space to and open up the options for the backline.
The scrum is a bit of a concern and I still think the problem is in the front row, excluding Stiles. I am not too sure about Hardman but Qld do need a decent tighthead.
I bagged Huxley before the game and for the first 50 min of the game he played alright (especially in defence where he put in some big hits) but his resorting to poor kicking options (and not including the 3 out on the full) instead of trying to use the advantage in numbers on a couple of occasions probably cost the match. Yes I know his 2 missed shots did cost the match, but I did enjoy the little game with the sand bucket and then the mouthguard he played with Dickinson.
The game was let down by handling but it wasnít a bad match for a game played in monsoon conditions. I mean hell after the drought thatís been going on, the rain has been very welcome.
I am looking forward to next weekend especially if Flatley is back. I think with Valentine passing game and Flatleyís skill at 5/8 it could really open up the Qld backline. While I think the Crusaders should have the edge in the scrum, I believe the breakdowns could be a closely fought match. It should be a close match if Flatley is playing otherwise the Crusaders would win by more than 7.