You got to praise the skipper first in James O’Connor. He was a key player in this Queensland Reds rebuild. Ever since head coach Brad Thorn lured him back in 2019. It may have been a divided move at the start. But he has proved them wrong.
He was blessed with the Reds strong defensive shape. That helped his side win penalties. In which allowed them to suit themselves. Where James scored a couple of three-pointers into the goalposts. They may have been behind ACT Brumbies for the majority tonight.
But Reds were able to take note of the opposition ill-discipline. Based on the amount of late penalties won. Before they finally found a way to nail down a touchdown. All thanks to the skipper himself in JOC. It was enough to get the home crowd cheering on. And celebrate in style with the championship. What an improved man he is right now. Having turned around a corner over the last 18 months. Now he leaves with this trophy!
Another Reds player who stood out is Fraser McReight. He is a focal part of this back row department. Both blindside & openside flanker. And never stood himself down through every game he plays. Even when Liam Wright was injured for most of the Super Rugby AU season. Then nailed down his place at No.7 without a doubt.
He was part of the Reds strong defensive setup. Where Fraser was tasked to look at the Brumbies weaknesses. Such as a lack of their decoy runners. And exposed their ill-discipline. That is one thing he held on defensively while they are isolated. Which helped his Reds side win a few penalties.
It may have taken some time to have the Reds fire back going forward. Especially when he used his physicality to knock down a few defenders. But remained patient for the whole time during the second 40. Where Fraser was able to keep the communication close. Before the gap was there for JOC to finish. And there goes him celebrating that big win. Well done on being an key player in that Reds back row. It will be very useful going into the Trans-Tasman leg & Wallabies stints.
Commiserations to ACT Brumbies who led for the majority. But unable to held on going into the final siren. There is one player who gave the Reds a hard time tonight. His name is Tom Banks at full-back. He knows how to clean the ball out via the kicking to stay away from danger.
It helps him read better. So it can be hard for the Reds to defend. And make them isolate with no option going to touch. That allowed his Brumbies side to get themselves ahead early. Thanks to the patience shown in the attack. Which helped them win a few penalties. As well as more chances with the ball earlier on.
Such as scoring the first touchdown in the 2021 Super Rugby AU Final. Followed by a series of three-point penalty goals from his side. But the most disappointing part was the ill-discipline. Especially during the second 40. When the Brumbies saw their opponents have an extended run against them. With not much chance with the ball as seen from the previous run. Before there were three players sent to the naughty chair. And that ultimately cost Brumbies the win they badly needed.