Tate McDermott

It was a high scoring game with a huge encouraging performance from the home team as the Western Force has just secured their first win of 2024 v the Queensland Reds at HBF Park in Perth after a winless first couple of games. They were able to get the ball rolling as many as three tries that puts them way in front throughout the first half, although the Reds finally got their first big score not long before half-time as the scoreline was 28-5. Now the Reds again thought they are back on track thanks to another Tate McDemott TRY but then the Force continued to increase their lead over time where they have absolutely dominant all along even though the Reds were able to pick up some late points towards the end, 40-31. After five rounds, the Reds drop to fifth while the Force push the Crusaders to last & now into 11th just behind the Waratahs (10th) by two points.

Hats off to Bayley Kuenzle who was unbelievable on the wing tonight for the Western Force, even though he usually specialises at 10 or on the centre. But again, his Super Rugby experience & physicality is something the opposition couldn’t underestimate where he always keeps on moving as his two TRY performance alongside his excellent defensive work has put the Western Force on the front seat all along for his team’s first win of 2024 – such an excellent team player. There’s another good player with Super Rugby experience who is doing really well back home in Perth also for the Force and his name is Carlo Tizzano who plays on the openside back row at No.7. He is someone the Reds didn’t enjoy every time he locked up the Reds attack in defense whose form was isolated before he and his team made the most out of their quick and electrifying attacking passage of play including two tries for himself. After a winless first couple of rounds, he and Bayley credits the strong home crowd at HBF Park as they will look to give back more good wins from here starting with the Fijian Drua away next Saturday.

And Reds’ No.9 co-skipper Tate McDermott did the best he can to keep up the scoreboard where his team fell short following his own two TRY performance in between half-time. The attacking build-up is there to see where he knows where to find his men on the counter as promised from the beginning, but then a few poor executions allowed the Force to swoop successfully in return where the Reds were vulnerable at their own end before it was too late with little time remaining. The Reds had a great start under Les Kiss (new head coach) until now which wasn’t easy after making the few hours trip to Perth as they will do so again on the way home before another tough test ahead v the high-flying Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday.

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Great to have Super Rugby back for another year in 2024, especially on a Saturday night that began with the long-running Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs rivalry as this week’s game of the round at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. It was a close first half where the Waratahs showed some intent in the way they spotted a few Reds mistakes before they cashed in with the rewards on hand, while the home side benefitted from winning penalties every time when they have the ball in hand going forward & they are the ones who has the upper hand at the break, 21-15. But the 2nd half is all about the Reds where they continued to keep on scoring before being too good in the end as the new era under head coach Les Kiss is off to a great start with a comfortable victory on home soil, 40-22. Next weekend’s games will be under the one roof during the Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne with Crusaders v Waratahs on next Saturday night & Hurricanes v Reds next Sunday afternoon. Time will tell if the Australian teams really mean business this season since the NZ teams have entered into a completely new chapter with lots of musical chairs amongst coaches and even players over the course of the off-season.

Tate McDermott has been a revelation in the Reds attack at No.9 (half-back) whose performance tonight has played a key role in his team’s huge win v the Waratahs. He’s great communicating with his players while unleashing the pace and physicality every time the Reds has the ball on hand. All of this is so important in getting the job done when making the most of the counter-attack as this is how Les Kiss wanted the Reds to play and gotta say it’s so far, so good with McDermott vowing to keep that rebuilding phase onto the next step in the weeks to come. There’s another Reds player who will be there to bring back the glory is experienced Alex Hodgman on the front row at loosehead. He too benefitted from winning penalties where he has the tall reach & packed meat combined to plow himself past the Waratahs players with scrums and tries being won under his watch. There’s life after Taniela Tupou in the props when you got someone onboard who has previous Super Rugby experience in New Zealand and he could even play for the Wallabies too soon enough thanks to his Australian-born father.

And Mark Nawaqanitawase had a really long evening on the wide right for the Waratahs where he has outstanding vision as being tested in defense while he can get his side out of trouble every time the opportunity is there whenever the ball is right near or with him. There’s a reason why he’s more than a Super Rugby player in the Wallabies shirt as Mark will be missed when he will play for the Sydney Roosters in 2025 & 2026. Even though he did his best to try and stop the Reds from scoring, his side unfortunately wasn’t happy with the discipline/lost penalties before more mistakes went against them at his own end later on & this is something the Waratahs will need to watch out if they wish to get themselves back on track this season.

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Australia kicked off their Autumn internationals against old foes Scotland at Murrayfield stadium in a tight contest that saw them run out 16-15 winners.

Despite Australia having won 21 out of the 33 matches against the men in blue, they’d been the losing side in their last 3 Tests and were looking for a turnaround in fortunes.


The Aussies started strongly but were met by a strong Scottish defence that twice prevented a try in the opening 10 minutes by winning a foul. Tate McDermott was causing Scotland havoc with his direct running and offloads at key moments but it was home team that managed to get on the scoreboard first.

Ollie Smith, making his Murrayfield debut, made fantastic use of a blind pass by Blair Kinghorn to fly through a gap in the Aussie defence, darting past one defender before scoring a fantastic try. Kinghorn missed the conversion and the 5 point lead didn’t last long. Australia won a penalty just 3 minutes later and fly-half Bernard Foley made no mistake, cutting the deficit to 3 points.

Australia continued to put pressure on the Scotland defence, but again were met by a wall that refused to back down. As the half-time whistle drew close, a scuffle between the two sides broke out and Australia were handed the opportunity to take the lead. Foley, having scored the first kick with ease, maintained his 100% record in the game by splitting the posts and Australia went into the tunnel, 6-5 ahead.

Half-Time: Scotland 5-6 Australia

The crowd roared when the men from Scotland re-entered the field and they were duly rewarded for their enthusiasm just 3 minutes later.

Scotland’s Centre Mark Bennett put in a big tackle in the middle of the pitch and causing a spill. Kinghorn kicked the ball with his feet to good use, smashing it deep into the Wallaby half and chasing it down before it popped up into his arms for him to dive across the line. Kinghorn then scored the conversion, giving the Scottish a 12-6 lead.

Australia were struggling to keep control of the game as they’d done so well in the first half and small mistakes were starting to show. A penalty inside the Aussies 22 handed Kinghorn another 3 points, and Scotland a 9 point cushion. In the 55th minute Australia were given a man advantage after a dangerous tackle was deemed just a yellow to Lock Glen Young. The men in yellow looked to take advantage of the extra man and they did so fantastically on the hour mark.

Good movement and passing on the left-hand side of the field pushed Scotland back to their 22, then a quick switch of direction to the opposite side helped gave Australia’s captain James Slipper an easy try. Foley scored the conversion to make it a 2 point game. Australia’s fightback continued when they won a penalty on the right-hand side of the posts and Foley stepped up to score the critical 3 points.

With just 10 minutes to go and Australia ahead by a single point, fans of both teams were on the edge of their seats! Both teams were right at each other, ready to capitalise on any mistake the other made, knowing that any further score could possibly end the match.

With 2 minutes left, Australia were penalised for holding onto the ball in a ruck and gave Kinghorn the chance to win it. The wind was blowing hard and the kick was hit too wide to the left of the posts, handing Australia the win.

Full-Time: Scotland 15-16 Australia

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It was a terrific close match-up between the two sides that kickstarted Week 11 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific after 80 minutes of play. The first-half run saw the Queensland Reds & Chiefs share the lead at half-time, 13-13. Chiefs continued their resurgence where they regained top spot, while the Reds fought back as of late. The Semipeni Finau red card gave the Reds some glimmer of hope thanks to Hunter Paisami’s TRY with three minutes left, but they unfortunately ran out of time with a narrow two-point loss, 25-27.

Reds were unlucky to lose at Suncorp Stadium by two points to the Chiefs. They fired off slow and steady through the two three-point penalty goals off fly-half in Lawson Creighton before Harry Wilson opened the scoring account in the 30th minute at Number 8. Although, they were still in contention despite losing the lead later in the 2nd half, on top of another two tries from Josh Flook and the crucial consolation big score in Hunter Paisami, that gave his side some glimmer of hope with only five minutes to go. They were unlucky not to be given time in the end to upsurp the Chiefs, especially when Creighton failed to convert into the goalposts after Josh Flook’s TRY in the 51st minute. However, the ill-discipline robbed the Reds’ momentum where a couple of lost penalties and two yellow cards against them saw the Reds fell short.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs were on the same page as the Reds in the first half with a couple of penalty goals before Cortez Ratima leveled the scoresheets at half-time. But their last 40-minute momentum has to be the turning point, despite the Samipemi Finau red card in the 75th minute over a high tackle on Fraser McReight. They were so dangerous in attack when the Reds couldn’t stop them thanks to their ill-discipline, having regained & extended the lead with another two tries before they held off a difficult opponent through a sigh of relief towards full-time. Credit to Samisoni Taukei’aho at hooker, who completed an execution masterclass that got the Chiefs back in front, while Pita Sowakula extended their winning share where he handled the Reds well with the scrum feed and their defensive half. And Bryn Gatland’s kicking is top-notch as always without error through the goalposts 100%.

The Reds will be back at Suncorp Stadium when they take on the Highlanders from Dunedin next Friday, while the Chiefs will return home to Waikato in New Zealand next Saturday night v the ACT Brumbies.

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Pita Sowakula put in a fantastic display at Number 8 for the Chiefs tonight. He demonstrated so much physicality alongside his tall stature, which gave the Reds a tough time along the way on their home turf at Suncorp Stadium. Sowakula handled the scrummaging like spiderman when the Reds weren’t communicating well before he was legally allowed to wheel at the right time where the rewards paid off; that contribution led to winning penalties and an assist to Cortez Ratima’s TRY just before half-time. And there’s more of Sowakula when he extended the Chiefs’ winning margin a bit further, with credit from his team-mates from the backline, who shared the workload in the attack, so Sowakula made the Reds pay the price over ill-discipline from close range past the TRY line.

Next up is Bryn Gatland at fly-half, who was exceptional in the Chiefs shirt ever since he replaced Josh Ioane in Round 3 this season v Blues. He has a brilliant knack for kicking in all angles that sends a message to the other best five-eighths in New Zealand, having converted all of the Chiefs’ three-pointers and tries between the sticks. He’s also not shy when Gatland has the ball in hand, whether flattening up the attack or bumping into the Reds’ defensive territory. Even though he left the field after 80 minutes of hard work with a minor bruise on the cheek, he’s happy to be the Chiefs’ playmaking and kicking machine every week before sniffing around the All Blacks selection radar.

And Tate McDermott is one of the best Reds players to learn & get along when he first got his breakthrough a few years ago. He’s lightning quick with his pace and passing that got the Reds up and running, especially in the 2nd half when McDermott got around Quinn Tupaea with some room on the far short side and assisted Josh Flook’s TRY in the 51st minute. He also laid another assist to Hunter Paisami with less than five minutes to go, thanks to the Chiefs being down to 14 men due to the Samipeni Finau red card. But unfortunately, it just wasn’t his night when ill-discipline left the Reds too little, too late to usurp in the end.

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What a way to end Week 6 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season, when we looked back at this oldest rivalry, with the Queensland Reds host NSW Waratahs here at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. It was a tight opening 40 minutes of play where both teams were level 13-13 at the half-time break. However, the Reds returned to winning ways following their narrow loss v Brumbies in Canberra last week, as the final score is 32-20.

It may not be the night they liked to reflect on the loss from the Tahs, who got themselves firing with the sensational opening TRY from Jack Grant at half-back. They just couldn’t kick on when it comes to their attacking shape, which caused further lost penalties and opportunities against the ball later in the 2nd half. Not even the consolation TRY from sub hooker Tom Horton is barely enough to make up lost time towards the full-time siren.

Meanwhile, the Reds overcame a crucial 1st half spell when they were level with the Tahs at the break. Their starting loosehead front row in Dane Zander was sent off with a straight red, while Tate McDermott can debate that he didn’t deliberately knock a player down. However, the referee dismissed that claim where McDermott had to sit 10 mins in the naughty chair. Things got much better though later in the 2nd half when the Reds managed to bag two tries that turned the momentum around, as it was enough to maintain themselves in the winner’s circle. And to go from 13 men on the field to a late turnaround following the 20-minute red card replacement is incredible stuff from the home side.

The Tahs will be staying within QLD for a while, but this time it will be on the Gold Coast when they head off to Cbus Super Stadium next Friday v Fijian Drua. Then the best of the best Super Rugby teams in Australia between the Reds v Brumbies continues back at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday night.

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2022 is a big shakeup for super rugby. The competition includes three new teams and is now exclusive to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Despite the changes, this season should still be incredibly exciting.

Australian Teams

The closest thing we have had to super rugby over the last three years was the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman series last year. It was a series in which the Australian teams struggled massively, only winning two games against the five New Zealand teams in the competition.

It looks likely to be another year where Aussie teams will struggle. The Brumbies once again look to be the pick of the Australian teams despite the Reds winning their first domestic title in Super Rugby Australia last season. The Queensland Reds will be looking to compete thanks to a variety of international players like Taniela Tupou and Tate McDermott.

The Waratahs, Force and Rebels will all be looking for spots in the knockout stages, but it will not be easy. The Waratahs do see captain Michael Hooper return for 2022, but they still look to be towards the bottom end of the table. Both the Force and Rebels have lost a lot of test experience over the last year and it will sadly hurt them this season.

New Zealand Teams

After dominating the Trans-Tasman series last year, it looks to be another Super Rugby season dominated by Kiwi teams.

Favourites for their fourth title, the Crusaders have a wealth of international talent led by two time reigning player of the year Richie Mo’unga. Their talent also includes Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, George Bridge as well as recent addition Pablo Matera. They may have some competition for their fourth title in a row.

The Blues are welcoming back Beauden Barrett, while still having internationals like Rieko Ioane, Nepo Laulala and Dalton Papalii. They come into 2022 off the back of winning the Trans-Tasman series. The Chiefs could be a surprise this season despite the losses of Damain Mckenzie and Lachlan Boshier. The Chiefs have one of the most talented set of forwards in Super Rugby which could dominate any team on any day.

The Highlanders and Hurricanes both have a huge amount of talent on the squads. But the Highlanders will struggle having lost a third of their starting XV from the Trans-Tasman final. They have a brilliant leader in Aaron Smith, but will struggle to progress in the tournament. Similar situation for the Hurricanes with some major losses coming into the season. But the Hurricanes add Dom Bird and TJ Perenara and could surprise a few people this season.

Two New Pacific Teams

This season features two new teams, both based in the Pacific Islands. After many years of lobbying, the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika will join Super Rugby. Starting with the Fijian Drua. They have had a difficult preparation for Super Rugby due to COVID issues, meaning the squad is based on the NSW North Coast as they could not prepare in Fiji. It looks like the team will need some time to adapt to Super Rugby’s intensity. Their squad contains Olympic champions Napolioni Bolaca, Kalione Nasoko and Meli Derenalagi. Don’t be surprised if Fijian Drua make a push for the knockout stages this season.

The second new team is Moana Pasifika, made up of players from New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Australia, including 18 former or current internationals. Much like Fijian Drua, it will be a season of getting used to Super Rugby for Moana Pasifika. 110 capped Australian Sekope Kepu is captain for the 2022 season, bringing a huge amount of experience to the new team. Moana Pasifika will be very exciting in the upcoming season, but don’t expect them to be near the top of the table come the end of the season.

The Loss of South African Teams

The reshaped 2022 Super Rugby does not include any South African teams, after their Super Rugby licenses expired after the 2020 season. It does seem odd going into a Super Rugby season without the Bulls, Sharks, Lions or Stormers. Their exclusion opens the floor up a lot for either the New Zealand teams to take over or opportunities for the new teams or the Australian teams to step up.

Super Rugby is going to look very different this season. Losing the South African teams is big for the competition. Despite not competing with them domestically, South Africa is still playing against New Zealand, Argentina and Australia in the Rugby Championship. It does show some disjointed thinking when it comes to Super Rugby’s thinking. But the 2022 changes bring plenty of opportunities for Pacific Island teams who have been trying to get into Super Rugby for years.


In this new look Super Rugby, it looks as if it will be a few years until the new teams or the Australian teams can compete with the talent of the New Zealand teams. 2022 looks to be a similar story.

Working from the bottom up, I think the four teams that are likely to miss out on the knockout stages are most likely to be the Rebels, Force, Waratahs and Moana Pasifika. These teams just don’t have the talent to move any higher. In terms of the teams to get stuck at the quarterfinals, I could easily see these teams being the Hurricanes, Highlanders, Fijian Drua and the Brumbies. The Brumbies could be the surprise package this year, with the talent their squad possesses.

But this season will be dominated by the New Zealand teams. The Reds will be the exception to this, looking likely to at least reach the semi-finals. In an emotional season, the Chiefs will also be targeting a semi-final push, but it may be slightly too difficult for them to get past either of the two teams left.

These two aren’t exactly surprising to anyone who has followed Super Rugby over the last five years. The Blues welcome back Beauden Barrett after his time in Japan, the team has talent in all areas. But the Blues don’t quite have the two time reigning Super Rugby Player of the year.

I think at the end of the season, the Crusaders will lift their fourth title in a row. A team with Richie Mo’unga, Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Sam Whitelock and Joe Moody is too much talent for any team to compete with when you reach the knockouts. The Crusaders will win their fourth title in a row.

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Richie Mo’unga has to be the first men in black player that helped distance themselves away from the Wallabies tonight at No.10/first five-eighth.

His kicking has been superb in contrast to Noah Lolesio whose long kicks into the goal didn’t work out while creating plenty of chances going forward.

And Mo’unga was able to turn this magic around into a series of complete executions in front of the Wallabies danger zone, there’s credit coming from their poor communication before cashing themselves in alongside the support runners that made the All Blacks so dominant in attack mightily after half-time.

Ardie Savea also played well in the All Blacks back three at Number 8, having read & tackled the Wallabies poor attacking executions/patience.

It helped protect his side’s defense that made the All Blacks a whole lot easier to dominate when given the turnover/intercept/winning penalties, especially for the majority after half-time.

Throw in Ardie and his other fowards who can give a helping hand with the backline being patient through the channels, which is excellent tactics that the Wallabies couldn’t catch up in terms of attacking football.

And Tate McDermott puts in a great shift at half-back for the Wallabies who possess so much passing & physicality all game long combined with pace.

The build up momentum is there for a start in the defense that helped his side win the ball through winning penalties, it’s something how the Wallabies remained close to the All Blacks in the first 30-35 mins.

Although, McDermott created chances along the way just like the start of a attacking production line when given the ball but the decoy runners around him let him down due to a lack of finishing mightily, even though the late consolation turnaround alone wasn’t enough to upset on their home turf.

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Alex Mafi is outstanding for the Reds tonight off the bench. When he came on for Brandon Paenga-Amosa after the break. And made an impact immediately.

He looked after the line-out and driving maul. Especially when the Waratahs were disjointed via the lost penalties. Took advantage after Alex was given the ball in hand. Where he credits the communication and patience. So he can get around the Waratahs touch line.

A hat-trick touchdown from the 24 year old. This is great competition to battle against Brandon Paenga-Amosa. In fact he could even be a great in the Wallabies squad. When Head Coach Dave Rennie will announce the best 40 players tomorrow. Perfect timing to have Alex considered alongside Folau Faingaa. The more you have quality hookers. The better it will be to help dominate the throw-in/maul for your country. For now he comes in No.1 tonight out of all players combined.

Tate McDermott

Another Reds start who is excellent at half-back is Tate McDermott. He was the one who gave the Reds some hope. At least to get the ball rolling. Having seen his side fire off slow in the first 40.

He remained calm and collective as always. When beginning to build some set pieces. How Tate executed is looking what the Waratahs are trying to do? That is to find their weaknesses. Before he tricked them. Thanks to these decoy runners who communicated with Tate very closely.

It allowed to help him destruct the Waratahs wall. Especially during the first touchdown after winning the scrum. He looked after it well going square. Just like fellow Top 3 recipient Alex Mafi. Got his own players in line with him through the channels. And ran off to the touchline by unpacking that blistering pace. Then repeated the same trick again. Where Tate assisted that short pass offload to Lukhan Salakaia-Loto. Credit to him on making up lost time by building a competitive total. Which is why Tate is an very important player in the Reds squad.

Will Harris

It is still hard for any Waratahs fan out there who have yet to win. They always know how to fire off a game. Which is seen from most of their performances so far in 2021. But so little ideas to hold on that momentum for the majority tonight.

One player did well for the Waratahs alone is Will Harris. He plays at loose forward in the No.8 role. Will first oversaw as mentioned earlier a great start to have two three-point goals. Having documented the Reds slow start. As well as their ill-discipline on occasions. Where he scored one touchdown in the 2nd 40.

Although he took his chance well by dispatching Jack Dempsey. But the players around him were not really cooperating. So many penalties given away. Not enough time to try and give the Reds a hard look in return. And it limited their chances with the ball on hand. They instead rushed through it by leaving one/players isolated. Which is not good enough. Got to give Will Harris some support next time. The more talk up he needs. The better it will be to help him out and give more chances to grab points.

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Tate McDermott played really well in the half-back role for the Reds. Very blessed to have so much control when he has the ball. You see how he orchestrated that scrum to stay square. They listed to how Tate wanted to attack. Pushed through to help him find some Force weaknesses. With credit from Harry Wilson via the quick ball release. And found his way past the goal line for the first Reds big score.

Same exact thing later in the 2nd 40. He looked at the opposition half. Called out Hunter Paisami who able to trick the Force by cutting inside. And secured his 2nd TRY. Then a tad later he got out quickly to rope Suliasi Vunivalu with the breakthrough. His winger ran past them with some space. Before Suliasi found Jock Campbell with the finish. Tate as always hands the keys to James O’Connor when starting the attack. Or boxxed kick when trying to trick the Force defenders.

Although, Tate did agree with the captain JOC there. There are plenty of ill-discipline and fumbles involved. Plus a lack of ball play on hand. Which saw the Force earned the points they need. In order to keep themselves in the game & hopefully hijack them for the win. But luckily the Reds defended well in the end.

Suliasi Vunivalu

Another Reds player who light up the attack is Suliasi Vunivalu. He plays on the right wing. Having got himself more involved in their final third. Got a great eye due to the directions set by the fantastic 9 & 10 combo. Tate McDermott as mentioned above. And James O’Connor.

He protected the Reds set phases in the ruck. Where Suliasi let Tate dictate the finishing. That saw Hunter Paisami wrapped up the touchdown from the midfield. Then he was guided later on from Tate to help him run through some space. Noticed his calls where the Force began to slip away. And found Jock Campbell with the finish. Although he needs to fine tune himself. Such as the high ball where he fumbled at times.

But safe to say that he is adapting so easily in Rugby Union. After he came over off a great run last year in the NRL. When he helped the Melbourne Storm to the Grand Final. Scored one of sensational big score that secured the title. Now he is exactly doing the same with the Reds. As they remain undefeated. Suliasi is a big & tall player as Allana Ferguson said on Nine/Stan. And there is no doubt Suliasi will continue to run down any opposition defenders. Based on his electric speed as long as they help him out. So he can get involved in the finishing more like tonight.

Jake McIntyre

He really had a great game tonight at No.10 for the Western Force. Credit is due to his forwards pack. Where the Reds gave away some penalties. The home team did not cooperate at times. Especially when defending for the majority. And it gave his Force side a chance with the ball on hand.

They managed to gain some meters going forward. With Brynard Stander giving Jake a safe pair of hands. Such as the penalty goal. The kicking is so neat into the goal posts. By the way he was a Red before heading off to France. Then coming back here for the Perth-based side. So some overseas experience really helped the Force. And kept an eye on the scoreboard.

Despite a great defensive setup & easy points strategy. The only weakness the Force did not match tonight. And it is the finishing. They have the ball carry for most of the time. Where Queensland Reds did not watch their discipline. But not enough talk up & direction. No support runners involved to help keep the ball alive. Saw one or two players being isolated. And it let him down. Even though it was by a seven-point difference. Force will take some positives by taking it to Canberra on Friday v Brumbies.

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