The Force came to Brisbane chasing their first ever hambone. Standing in their way was a Reds team looking to add another notch to the win column and build some momentum in their season.
And both teams came out firing, with a Force tight head and the Rocket unable to collect a kick, that refused to bounce, it was all happening. It was the Force who scored first, ten minutes in they first ventured into the Reds half and earned three from a ruck penalty, Ebersohn having no troubles with the kick. the Reds were not capitalising on early domination.
Just like the Force, who were continuing to win, so they continued to make their way into Reds territory and earn kicks at goal. two more being kicked in much the same manner. It was poetic that the Ref blew his whistle again twenty minutes in and Ebersohn lined up for, and kicked, his fourth penalty.
The niggle that had been bubbling under the surface boiled over with a wonderful exhibition of handbags. while the Ref was reviewing the footage of the some niggle by Charles on Quirk he noticed something the rest of the stadium had seen, a blatant shoulder charge from Cottrell on Shatzt, he handed out a yellow and the Reds went on the attack.
The Force line lost some structure and the Reds looked to capitalise with a four on one worked on the left wing, Slipper jinked and accelerated his way to the line. Unfortunately he was blessed with a props speed and wasted the three backs outside him as he was pulled down just short of the line. The Reds maintained their composure though and while the Force line was out of shape the ball was spun wide and Ben Tapuai went in untouched.
Bouyed by the change in fortune and looking to take advantage of their advantage in numbers, they found themselves again pressuring the line. With a sense of deja-vu, James Slipper again found himself on an overlap. They say the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, however James was not put off. He sold the dummy. In a touch of insanity it was bought and James got himself over the line. Quade added the extras and the Reds were into the lead.
The Force worked their way back into the Reds half and, showing plenty of patience, worked the line with multiple phases, sucking Red’s defenders in. Eventually this paid with Ben McCalman crossing to put the Force back in front 17-14. Ebersohn missed the conversion.
That proved costly as right on the stroke of half time, the Reds were awarded a penalty from some way out. Quade Cooper stepped up and kicked the goal to send the teams into half time all level at 17 all.
A missed penalty by Sias Ebersohn was the only hightlight from the first ten minutes of the second half. Sensing the need to up the entertainment level, Sias aimed for the post. Unfortunately the Reds were the benefactors of this, with Quade collecting the loose ball and setting off for the Force’s line. Some great passes eventually led to Mike Harris having a shot at goal for a Force offside. He shot the ball over and the Reds were in the lead 20-17.
the Force made their first real hit at the line, with Nick Cummins chipping over the top and forcing the Reds to take it back over the own line. From the 5m scrum, the Force sent it wide. Jonah Placid, on his debut, had just come on the field and completely misread the defence, leaving a huge gap for Luke Morahan to celebrate his return to Suncorp with a try. Ebersohn continued with his kicking yips, missing the conversion.
Penalty Reds, Drop goal Force and Penalty Reds saw the score see-sawing along with the Reds leading 26-25 with 10 minutes to go. After Captain Kev gave strict instructions to ‘keep the game down their end of the field’, the team obviously listened. Mike Harris was given another shot and extended the Reds lead to 4 points.
The Force needed a try. Getting back to what they do best. Grinding. They worked the defensive line and 16 phases later the replacement Jayden Hayward was through under the posts. the conversion was a formality and the Force took the lead with only a minute to go 32-29.
The Reds tried to work point but the Force defence was desperate. A Quade Cooper drop goal attempted to draw the game, but it went wide and the Force had held on to record their fourth win in a row for the first time in their history.
P.S. Happy Birthday Quade!
P.P.S. Congratulations to G&GR’s own JJ Taulagi on his starting debut.
Exclusive Photos by Shane Sullivan
The Game Changer
The Shoulder charge by Angus Cottrell on Jake Shatz and the resulting Yellow card completely changed flow of game. Before the card it was all the Force, but the Reds were given a way back in.
The G&GR MOTM
Ben McCalman was fantastic and continued his great year for the Force. He’s looking fit and strong and is having plenty of involvement in the tight.
It was a real Captain’s knock from Kev Horwill tonight, he’s looking very strong. Ben McCalman’s night went along way to proving he’s a great option at 8.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Tapuai, Slipper
Conversions: Cooper 2/2
Penalties: Cooper 1/2, Harris 4/4
Drop Goal: Cooper 0/1
Tries: McCalman, Morahan, Hayward
Conversions: Ebesohn 0/2, Hayward 1/1
Penalties: Ebersohn 4/7
Drop Goal: Ebesohn 1/1
Cards & Citings
27, 024 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane