Signs of life as Reds break Kiwi drought
BRAD Thorn let loose his Reds kids' club at Suncorp Stadium and his faith produced an upset over a Kiwi power that all Aussie rugby fans should get a kick out of.
It would be easy to trivialise the 19-7 result that dumped the champion Chiefs out of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens but these are challenging times and Queensland fans were hungry for signs of fresh life.
Whether it's 10-a-side or a Test match, you have to rate fight and resilience and finding a way to win against any Kiwi rugby team.
The Reds looked one of the most ordinary outfits at the Tens in their first pool match on Friday yet they were also one of the tournament's biggest improvers by the time they snapped the drought.
Last year, no Australian side beat a Kiwi team in Super Rugby, surely one of the most cringeworthy stats in Australian rugby history. That was 0-26. Awful.
The Reds did their bit to turn the tide and reach the semi-finals.
To make it precise. It was the first win at provincial level by an Australian side over a Kiwi Super Rugby team since the Tens a year ago when the Rebels beat the Chiefs.
Lanky 2.03m pillar Angus Blyth is just 19 but he scored the crucial try for a 12-7 break.
Replays on the stadium's big screen showed around 20,000 fans that his right boot had touched the sideline in his desperate scramble to dot down.
It was "no try" but the referee missed it.
Thankfully, the Reds put it beyond doubt when playmaker Hamish Stewart, 19, earned a terrific forced penalty at the breakdown when the Chiefs did not release the ball. In a twinkling, winger Jayden Ngmanu, another of Thorn's Queensland Under-20 graduates, was dummying into open space.
Standout Izaia Perese dashed over and coach Thorn could give an animated show of enjoyment on the sideline that backing his hu8nches on youth may just have a bigger payday as the season goes on.
The no-nonsense Thorn has spelt out what he wants this season. He wants his players to fight in every contest, tackle like demons and make fans in the stands appreciate a side trying their absolute best.
Tens is a fun frolic until the instincts of any good footballer bubble to the surface.
They did for captain Samu Kerevi when he had to protect his tryline.
He thumped Chiefs attacker Bailyn Sullivan over the sideline 5m out like it was a Test match.
Blyth scored the Reds first try in the qualifying final as well, surging over and being awarded a five-pointer even when it was not obvious how he grounded the ball.
It was the only Aussie win of seven trans-Tasman clashes at the tournament after the Waratahs bowed out 35-24 to the Hurricanes in the finals.