One of Highlanders turning points during their 2nd half comeback is Folau Fakatava, who came on for Aaron Smith at half-back with 25 mins to go, and made an instant impact ever since. He was simply outstanding when Fakatava planted one assist and a TRY that helped his team move back on the Playoffs bubble in 8th spot with three regular games to go. He’s 22 with plenty of potential to be like Aaron over the next few years where Fakatava can be a real menace to defenders, especially when the Reds began to falter in the 2nd half and he took advantage of their decline that became his show on the pitch.
Next up is fellow Highlander Scott Gregory on the left wing at No.11. He credits the hard work from his forwards pack, who identified the Reds No.1 weakness which is the 2nd half and their finishing momentum. It gave them ample time to work things out with the ball before one Highlanders support runner covered the Reds up defensively, while Gregory did some damage where he laid an assist to Thomas Umaga-Jensen, as well as a TRY off the Folau Fakatava’s back hand pass that saw the Highlanders regain the lead later in the 2nd half. He just simply controls the game when dominating the attack with pace, as his services will be important towards helping his team stay in the Playoffs area with three regular games left.
And Lawson Creighton have no problems filling-in for the injured James O’Connor at the No.10 Reds shirt, where he played just like him when they were firing in the first half. He’s 23 with plenty of physicality to orchestrate the attack, such as that quick offload on the left short side to Jock Campbell, as well that cross kick also on the other short side to Josh Flook. These two scored tries all thanks to Creighton’s creative work, who is willing to learn and try to keep starting every week, so the Reds can continue to function with better competition in the years to come. But there’s still work to do when it comes to the 2nd half spell when they began to falter before the Highlanders came back to bite them.