One swallow doesn’t make a summer but this is no false dawn like we’ve been promised before, the Reds are the real McCoy in 2010.
Their long suffering fans will be ecstatic at the way their team ripped the heart out of the Force in the first half of today’s game, leading by 36-3 and a bonus point to boot at the break, scoring five tries in the process.
Players like Digby Ioane, Anthony Faingaa and Scott Higginbottom were unstoppable in this game, each scoring a brace of tries in this romp.
Ione in particular looked menacing with ball in hand: a tattooed blur of rippling muscle and pumping thighs – power and passion personified.
Things slowed up in the second half due to rain and a few yellow cards but the final scoreline read 50-10.
The Queenslanders are now sixth on the Super 14 ladder after five rounds, an unusual position.
With the bye weekend to recover, the Reds are then off to Bloemfontein where they’ll encounter some more serious opposition.
For those that were predicting a Force win……what were you thinking? Did their bus actually arrive at Suncorp Stadium or is it still lost in the Clem 7 tunnel?
There was more life in the Wally Lewis statue than from what we saw from the boys in blue today.
Apart from Matt Hodgson, who was the best loose forward on the park and essentially a one-man band, no-one else really turned up to play.
With their season in serious decline, I reckon John Mitchell is a dead man walking and doubt whether any of his returning injury reinforcements will be able to save him.
For the Reds, Will Genia and Quade Cooper made an outstanding contribution, effectively controlling the match.
With talent to burn on his outsides, Cooper set up three tries with beautifully timed passes or kicks.
The backs’ astute running angles, especially the centres, opened the Force up and their ability to break tackles left the cover defence in dire straits.
The Reds’ forwards also did plenty of work and set up the platform, with one-off running from the ruck a favourite.
Their lineout was pretty tidy as well considering the conditions in the second half but they had an advantage over the Force, a hooker who could actually throw straight.
The Force lineout was atrocious. Both Tyrell and later Cowan just couldn’t find their targets and this seriously dented the possession stakes.
The last thing the Force needed was for the pill to end up back in the hands of the ever-threatening Fingers or Diggers.
The thing that resonates out of this match for me is the Reds new level of maturity. In the first half, they looked to be in complete control of the game, and were.
They refused to let the Force into the match. It was like they were squeezing the life out of them. Gee, haven’t they’ve come a long way? And there’ll be more to follow…..
Of the seven tries scored by the Reds, two stood out for me. In the first half, Cooper chip kicked from inside his 22 over to Diggers on the left wing.
The bounce was kind and Diggers set off in a powerful run down the touchline, easily palming off Cross in the process to score. He looked every inch a world class international.
The second one was initiated by Force fullback, Dane Haylett-Petty. He received a kick behind his tryline and decided that he had a cunning plan. Instead of touching down, he touched his boot instead (after letting the referee in on the little secret) and off he went.
A good little run it was too but once over the 30m mark he, Baldrick-like, passed the ball forward and directly into Higgo’s bread basket.
With a Kankowski turn of pace Higgo evaded and outrun a number of players to score an unlikely individual try. Captain Blackadder would not have been pleased.
The Force did score a consolation try early in the second half to Nick Cummins. The expectation was that David Hill would take some time to make an impact with the side and that proved to be the case.
For the Reds – Tries: A Faingaa 2, Morahan, Ioane 2, Higginbotham 2 Con: Cooper 5, Lucas Pen: Cooper
For the Western Force – Tries: Cummins Pen: O’Connor Conv: O’Connor
Put his hand up: Quade Cooper – despite all the baggage, he is playing the best rugby of his brief career and looks the form five eighth of the Australian teams.
Did himself no favours: Ryan Cross – anonymous in a misfiring team, it is looking more and more likely that Cross (and Stirling Mortlock) are about to become former Wallabies.
Bolter Watch: Faingaa x 2 – from potential discards to Wallaby contenders in one season, the twins are firing on all cylinders.