I dare say when the 2014 Super Rugby draw was released late last year, the QRU head honchos at Ballymore would have been quietly chuffed about at least one aspect of it – the chance to close out the season with a home game against traditional rivals, the Waratahs.
Of course back then the thinking would have been that the gap between the two teams on the ladder would not be as astronomical as it is this weekend. The prospect of a full-house at Suncorp as our beloved Reds chased their fourth finals appearance in a row was enough to shape a campaign around.
But it is not to be. The Reds are sitting in the bottom third of the ladder as the Waratah juggernaut roles on. It has been a season of massive disappointments for the Reds and they enter this game with the very real (likely?) chance of finishing the season having lost every home local derby encounter for 2014.
It’s hard to pinpoint the real low point of our season. The reality bites thrashing by the Tahs following that tough first up win against the Brumbies; discovering new ways to lose against the Force at home; discovering ways to win, against the Brumbies in Brisbane, but still losing; the back to back spankings at the hands of the Blues and Crusaders; the first ever loss to the Rebels?
For me, though, it was last week against the Force. We’d won two in a row and entered this match as self-appointed ‘finals spoilers’ only to put in a performance so lacking in impact (outside of Samu Kerevi) and effort it was like the team had jumped in a DeLorean rather than the team bus and transported back to the Eddie-era of 2007.
It all makes it very hard as a Reds fan to get ‘up’ for this weekend’s game. Well, I’m here you tell you to turn that apathy around and get excited. So, looking at the team lists below, here are 5 reasons for Queensland fans to get along to Suncorp Stadium this Saturday night to watch our Reds take on the Waratahs.
James Slipper 1 Benn Robinson
James Hanson 2 Tatafu Polota Nau
Greg Holmes 3 Sekope Kepu
Rob Simmons 4 Will Skelton
James Horwill (C) 5 Kane Douglas
Curtis Browning 6 Stephen Hoiles
Beau Robinson 7 Michael Hooper (C)
Jake Schatz 8 Wycliff Palu
Scott Gale 9 Nick Phipps
Ben Lucas 10 Bernard Foley
Lachie Turner 11 Rob Horne
Ben Tapuai 12 Kurtley Beale
Samu Kerevi 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper
Rod Davies 14 Alofa Alofa
Mike Harris 15 Cam Crawford
Reserves Saia Fainga’a 16 Tolu Latu
Ben Daley 17 Jeremy Tilse
Albert Anae 18 Michael Ala’alatoa
Dave McDuling 19 Jacques Potgieter
Liam Gill 20 Mitchell Chapman / Pat McCutcheon
Sam Johnson 21 Brendan McKibbin
Jamie-Jerry Taulagi 22 Jono Lance
Chris Kuridrani 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro
Location: Suncorp Stadium Brisbane
Kickoff: Sat 12 Jul 19:40 Referee: Mike Fraser Assistant Ref 1: Matt O'Brien Assistant Ref 2: Damien Mitchelmore TMO : George Ayoub