The Reds were better but still not good enough to beat the Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
Here’s what we learned from the 34-15 loss.
1. Reds capable of real running rugby
Not a single one of the 17,439 punters that rolled into Suncorp Stadium expected the Reds to win tonight.
They’ve been well below par in three of their last four performances, all of which ended in losses.They provided very little resistance in the opening 20 minutes but turned it on for a 50 minute period that will have Nick Stiles hoping for better results in the near future.
They dearly miss Quade Cooper but the attack was improved tonight.
The Canes fell off some tired tackles at stages but the Reds used turnover ball just as well as their opponents.
2. Bench woes costly
Nick Stiles did not mince his words post match when speaking about the impact of his bench.
He praised his starting XV but pointed out dropped balls from Andrew Ready, Hendrik Tui, Lukhan Tui and a poor performance from Nick Frisby as particularly costly in the final 10 minutes, when the Canes kicked clear.
3. Kuridrani not up to scratch
Chris Kuridrani has been an eternal source of frustration for Reds fans.
Click Here: Maori All Blacks Store
The 99kg, 189cm frame should do far more damage than it does in attack and his decision making is a constant source of head scratchers.
His poor defensive read allowed Jordie Barrett over for the match-winning try was proceeded by a horrific bomb he put up when in space which should have been a chip down the line.
He botches more attacking opportunities than he creates and is yet to figure out the defensive part of the game.
4. Higginbotham best afield for Reds
Higginbotham, along with Samu Kerevi, kept Queensland alive when the Canes threatened to put the nail in the coffin very early on.
Higginbotham set up Kuridrani’s try and finished another which he helped create with a sublime flick pass.
He was similarly industrious around the breakdown and secured a crucial pilfer penalty in the second term.
5. Common sense prevails
Eto Nabuli made the exact same tackle that he was shown a yellow card for last week but managed to stay on field this week.
If a player is trying to wrap his arms in a tackle it is not a deliberate knock down and Gardner should be commended for allowing common sense to prevail.
Gardner also awarded and subsequently disallowed two tries that would have changed the game in the second half.
Replays showed Mark Abbott had stepped on the sideline before dotting down and TJ Perenara had an air swing at a quick tap before he darted over for a try.
The TMO intervened and the Reds got out of jail but it wasn’t long before the Canes scored a pair of sealers through the Barrett brothers.