Sports

McReight plays in Reds-Rebels ‘helter-skelter’ try-fest


In an entertaining mishmash of rugby on foot, end-to-end passing, errors, turnovers, penalties and utterly sublime skill at speed, the Queensland Reds survived and dominated the Melbourne Rebels 36 -32 at AAMI Park.

It was a game, if it had lasted another 80 minutes, that could have ended 102-96, such was the offensive urgency on display.

The Reds’ open flank Fraser McReight – described by Stan Sports calling him Morgan Turinui as Michael Hooper’s “heir apparent” – was the best of his team, seemingly everywhere for his team, moving in defense and attack, running around the pitch and creating things and playing like the ghost of George Smith.

He had a few buddies, including No. 8 Harry Wilson and No. 12 Hunter Paisami, who ran with vigor and determination.

“It was completely messy,” five-eighth James O’Connor said after the game.

“The Rebels really kicked it all off and it was a huge effort from our guys.”

“It was a bold effort,” acknowledged Reds captain Tate McDermott.

“But from my point of view, not good enough. This is the basis of the game. Holding the ball. When we did, we looked really good.

“But we have lost an a la carte man. We have to clean it up or it’s going to hurt us in the weeks to come. »

Rebels captain Michael Wells said: “For the most part, we really stuck to it. You don’t like to lose, but you learn a lot from defeat. There are certainly some positives to be taken from this.

“The more structured the game, the better off we were. We are building.

Three seconds into the game, flying flanker Connor Vest leaped into the maelstrom and took possession from the kick-off. Thirty-one seconds later, the Reds had a penalty for the Rebels who hadn’t rolled, and James O’Connor scored from the front.

For ten minutes Melbourne did what they’ve been doing the whole game: force Queensland to defend. Matt Toomua butted with determination and pinned the Reds in their D zone.

A well-reached penalty attempt from Reece Hodge’s prodigious boot snagged alongside.

A solid clean by the loose head Matt Gibbon saw James Tuttle’s box kick for Jordan Petaia, a tactic first. But the fullback was up to it and ran 40 yards, jumping in the middle, beating several.

Queensland scored the first of nine tries in the game and it was a cracker. With the advantage, O’Connor headed to the line, snatched Paisami who flew on the ball, got the rebound, gathered and shifted in one motion and hit Vest with a peach.

The flanker, with his prison haircut and porn mustache, went too far, Andrew Kellaway around his ankles.

The following game Petaia threw a long bomb at former Melbourne Storm flier Suliasi Vunivalu, returning after a more than 300-day absence for the Reds, who delivered a deft first touch to Paisami on the loop.

The centre, a classic, direct, bullock type with deft hands, rushed to the right, the move halted near the line when his pass to the winger hit the bridge.

“Such good signs already with the return of Suliasi Vunivalu”, enthused Turinui.

Then Vunivalu sent a pass to McReight which the breakaway couldn’t handle as it would have suited a teammate twenty yards out.

“He hasn’t played for almost a year. This pass had to be a little softer, ”said Tim Horan.

Paisami left with a mysterious ankle injury, being replaced by Lawson Creighton.

A 26th-minute penalty from Toomua made it 10-3 before the match try: Rebels roared down the left, multiple men, running angles, great hands, all at speed – Matt Phillip, Kelaway, Tuttle.

A last minute tackle and the ball was pilfered by McReight who ran away the other way, fed Wilson on the wing who ironed inside for McDermott who ran 50 yards to score, chased by a multitude of tight attackers from the panting Rebels.

And then television tried to kill Bambi.

Back we want the breakdown and tackle on Tuttle and – thank you rugby gods – the half-back was ruled to have fallen into Creighton’s forearm.

“Try the pits,” said referee Damon Murphy to the delight of baby deer lovers.

After Filipo Daugunu was condemned for a high shot on Hodge, the full-back stormed down the right, knocked down by a grass cutter mowed down by Paisami. A ruck later, openside flanker Richard Hardwick blasted his way in for a deserved five-pointer.

The reds celebrate the defeat of the rebels.

“It could be a breakthrough period,” Turinui offered. He was right – but maybe not the way he thought.

The Rebels attacked on the right, the ball passed through the hands, before Creighton picked up a carving pass in the balmy Melbourne air and ran 80 yards to score.

Melbourne fought back – a driving maul and hooker James Hanson scored from ‘No.8’. Toomua pushed the conversion attempt and Queensland led 24-15 at the break.

“A few tries, a few things from start to finish… when do we see Taniela Tupou? Turinui asked.

The answer was in the 51st minute, when Josh Flook was also seen replacing Vunivalu.

Hodge scored a penalty for the Reds 24-18 before ‘Big MP’ – Philip – crashed under the posts, carrying a number of Reds. After Toomua’s conversion, the Rebels took the lead for the first time with 15 minutes remaining.

Next: another try from the contestant of the match. McDermott defused a Rebels bomb before throwing a wobbly pass to McReight who rushed downfield and found the flying Flook, which burned them all to score in the corner.

The reds attacked. Game in several phases. Angus Scott-Young, Tupou, Paisami, Wilson, McReight. The rebels held on – until they didn’t. Tight-headed prop Tupou, all of his 130kg, jumped in exuberant Fijian rugby sevens fashion.

His counterpart, Cabous Eloff, bearded like an Afrikaans voortrekker, crashed out with four minutes to go.

But it was too little too late and the Reds knocked him out before O’Connor sent him off.

“A huge effort from the Rebels,” McReight said. “There was an assault during the breakdown. They were excellent in the park and put us to the sword when we weren’t performing.

“Very proud of our guys. But we have work to do.

“We need to capitalize on their 22. And improve our ‘outs’ of ours.”




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