Frank Sinatra once sang “you’re riding high in April, shot down in May” – I’m not sure, but I think I heard Phil Mooney humming the same tune at the end of last night’s game against the Brumbies.
Sure, the Reds might not have been exactly riding high last week, but after their ground breaking win against the Blues, there was more than enough to suggest that there might at least be a bright end to the season.
There can be no argument however that the Reds have well and truly been “shot down in May” with the record drubbing the Brumbies handed them.
While stopping short of accusing his players of lacking heart, Mooney took aim at what he termed ‘clocking off’ by some players.
A despondent Mooney said after the game.
“I can’t explain it like that (lacking heart), I’d have to give it a bit more thought. Every time someone clocked off or didn’t do the job required, they exposed us very well – I’m not quite sure how you term it. Guys certainly go out there to try, there’s no doubt about that”
What’s the difference? If you play with heart surely you aren’t prone to ‘clocking off’ are you?
It is clear there are plenty in the Reds team that lack the skill to play Super 14, but what is most concerning is the way the Reds roll over with morbid resignation and allow themselves to cop it up the ginger.
Twice this year teams have raised the bat for the 50 against the Reds, and when you add the meek capitulation to the Force and Lions, it appears as though there is a crisis not only of skills, but also of pride around Ballymore.
As Mooney forlornly offered about the Reds hopes next week
“We’ve shown we can turn things around, but we tend to need a crisis to do it”
Make no mistake – this is a crisis the Reds will not recover from. To be outplayed by a better team is going to happen from time to time, but to allow teams to win through players not showing the required level effort is a totally different animal.