Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Errors Cost Reds; Referee Was Not to Blame in Final Defeat

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Errors Cost Reds; Referee Was Not to Blame in Final Defeat

Article excerpt

RUNNING RUGBY

Peter Slattery

Follow Slatts on Twitter @pjslatts

WOW, what a game.

The Reds versus Sharks final was a cracker.

As far as Reds' supporters and this columnist go, not the result we were after.

But nonetheless it was a great game of rugby, and for that we should all rejoice.

Another aspect to rejoice about was the fact the best team won.

The Sharks brought their smothering defence, they were clinical in attack, and the dreaded penalty/penalty goal nexus played no part.

It was true rugby entertainment.

First, I must address the elephant in the room.

A lot (in the Aussie press anyway) has been made about the performance of the referee group (Kaplan and his touchies).

As far as I'm concerned, while it won't be one they'll cherish as their best performance, they were not responsible for the Reds' downfall.

The Reds were their own worst enemies.

Far too many basic mistakes and questionable defence was the key to their loss.

Kaplan's sin-binning of a Sharks player for repeated team offences on full time probably came a bit too late.

But once again, if the home side had held on to the ball and made the critical tackles, it would have won the game.

In addition, having been at the game and in a favourable position to view the game aerially, Kaplan and the touchies missed, conservatively, about fifteen forward passes, favouring both teams equally.

The game resembled full-contact netball on many occasions.

A couple of other aspects of the game caught my attention and they were both related to the unfortunate injury to Ben Lucas (you have to feel for him, he's had really bad luck with injuries of late) and both have positive long-term impact for the Reds.

As Lucas was leaving the field, to most people's surprise, the versatile Nick Frisby came on as his replacement with Will Genia moving to five-eighth. I thought both had productive games.

You could argue the Reds failed to reach any great highs in continuity or effectiveness with their attack, but it was not the result of these two players. …

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