Reds rally to beat Rebels at Suncorp Stadium

Fri, May 10, 2024, 9:08 PM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit

The resolute Queensland Reds snapped into gear with a 21-0 surge midway through the second half on Friday night for their come-from-behind victory over the Melbourne Rebels.

The final 26-22 scoreline at Suncorp Stadium was an invaluable win for the fifth-placed Reds who showed character to claw back a 15-5 half-time deficit.

Following up the landmark success over the Crusaders in Christchurch six days earlier was all important.

“The truth is coming back from Crusaders-land I thought there could be a flat spot so I was proud we got on task in the second half, went to our maul a number of times and the way we closed it out,” Reds head coach Les Kiss said.

“It was a strong test for us.”

Added co-captain Liam Wright: “We want to be a consistent team. We have a “W” in the column so we’re happy with that.

“We’ll find more polish because the Rebels got under our skin in the first half when they dominated the physical aspects. We’re proud of the turnaround in the second 40 minutes and closing out a game we might have lost earlier in the season.”

The Reds rebounded from a lacklustre first half where they found themselves behind by 10 points and hampered by rare ill-discipline, including a yellow card to centre Hunter Paisami.

The win did come at a cost with in-form No.8 Harry Wilson leaving the field at the 47-minute mark. Coach Kiss later confirmed that X-rays revealed a broken right arm.

Prop Peni Ravai was held-up over the tryline shortly after so the Reds were already on the rise before the Rebels lost winger Lachie Anderson to a yellow card for repeated team infringements.

The Reds capitalised immediately with flanker Fraser McReight diving over after a strong drive off a 5m lineout after 54 minutes.

At the 58-minute mark, a well-constructed backline sweep to the left put fullback Jock Campbell into space. In classic fashion, Campbell held the ball in both hands, stepped and feinted both ways to stall three defenders. He dashed over from 40m out to put the Reds ahead 19-15.

On 62 minutes, Paisami sliced through a gap and put winger Tim Ryan over for his sixth try in three games.

The crowd of 10,864 roared approval at the three-try burst in 10 minutes that took the home side to a 26-15 lead.

The gritty Rebels, who lost Wallaby prop Taniela Tupou to a head knock after eight minutes, came back with a late try. They had the ball on attack at full-time but the stout Reds defence was up to the task again.

The Reds welcomed back halfback Tate McDermott for the final 35 minutes while James O’Connor played the closing 20 minutes at flyhalf as his first game of the season.

“Kalani (Thomas) and Lawson (Creighton) have done a great job over the last few games at halfback at No.10. Tate did exactly what we expected him to do when he came on. He sped things up and guided us,” Wright said.

“James looked very excited after a tough old season and was good at the backend of the game too.”

The Reds travel to Suva to play the Fijian Drua next Saturday.

QUEENSLAND REDS 26: Tries: Matt Faessler, Fraser McReight, Jock Campbell, Tim Ryan, Conversions: Lawson Creighton 2, James O’Connor Defeated MELBOURNE REBELS 22: Tries: Andrew Kellaway, Sam Talakai, Maciu Nabolakasi, Conversions: Carter Gordon 2, Penalty Goal: Carter Gordon   Half-time: Rebels 15-Reds 5

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