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'Why are we doing that?': Reds calls out 'stupid' play after Rebels loss

By AAP
Tate McDermott of the Reds is tackled during the round five Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds at AAMI Park, on March 25, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Cutting out the “stupid” penalties remains on top of the Queensland Reds’ to-do list after another frustrating loss set the tone for their moment-of-truth clash with the Crusaders.

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The Reds were beaten 40-34 by the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday, dropping to 2-3 ahead of Friday’s date with the defending champions in Brisbane.

James O’Connor was lining up a late conversion from the sideline that would have put them in front.

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But he never got the chance, the try disallowed when replays showed Ryan Smith needlessly holding back a defender that was unlikely to tackle try-scorer Tate McDermott.

But a 9-2 penalty count against the visitors in the first half was just as damning, flanker Fraser McReight still frustrated when addressing the performance on Monday.

“I don’t think he was that filthy,” McReight said of how McDermott reacted to Smith’s unnecessary act.

“We should have iced the game a lot earlier; it’s tough to let one incident with a minute to go be the result of the game.

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“To me, that’s not a standout incident. Yeah, it drew criticism, was a big talking point. But at half-time the penalty count was 11-2 (sic).

“Why are we doing that in the first place?”

The Reds were the most penalised Super Rugby Pacific team last season but McReight said they only had themselves to blame if the “50-50” decisions weren’t going their way.

“A lot of the penalties have just been stupid and totally in our control,” he said.

“If we’re able to eradicate those stupid penalties on our end, it makes it a lot easier for refs to make those 50-50 calls land on our side.

“There needs to be an onus and accountability from the playing group; it can’t just be an elephant in the room.”

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McReight knows a response against the Crusaders, who have lost games to the Chiefs and Fijian Drua this season, would serve two purposes in a World Cup year.

“It’s an opportunity to stamp their jersey and their worth,” McReight said of playing the Crusaders.

“We haven’t had that, ‘You know what? We’re proud of the performance’ … We haven’t had that yet and it’s the perfect opportunity.

“That’s in the forefront of mind, compared to the Wallabies but if we can do that it’s going to be a domino effect of it.

“They are the world’s best and we do want to win. Imagine if we knock them off, what’s everyone going to say?”

The task will be made tougher with Wallabies centre Hunter Paisami likely to miss at least one month with a knee injury, although Angus Blyth (ankle) could return.

Meanwhile recruit and former Test lock Luke Jones remains sidelined with a neck issue, the club keen to avoid surgery in the hope he shows improvement and features at some point this season.

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