BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 03: Samu Kerevi of the Reds passes during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium on May 03, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images for SUNWOLVES)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 03: Samu Kerevi of the Reds passes during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium on May 03, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images for SUNWOLVES)

Reds seek exemption for young gun Lucas

A special exemption will be sought so young spark Isaac Lucas can play in the first Queensland Reds team to topple the NSW Waratahs in six years on Saturday night.

No other outcome works on either front for a desperate Reds team which is in the last-chance saloon at Suncorp Stadium.

The Queensland Rugby Union is certain to seek a delay on Lucas entering the Junior Wallabies camp in Sydney the same day because he's desperately needed to answer a backline SOS.

Fullback Hamish Stewart yesterday arrived home to Brisbane in a sling from the 30-24 loss to the Melbourne Rebels with painful left shoulder or AC joint damage after contesting a grubber kick with Reece Hodge.

Scans will clarify the injury but he is certain to be scratched from the crunch interstate game which only adds to the injury toll among outside backs.

Jordan Petaia (foot), Filipo Daugunu (broken forearm), Jack Hardy (knee) and Will Eadie (knee) are already sidelined.

Only experienced Aidan Toua remains as a viable fullback replacement but he doesn't have the versatility needed from Lucas, 20, who would be flyhalf cover as well now Stewart is out.

 

Hamish Stewart arrived home in a sling. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Hamish Stewart arrived home in a sling. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

 

None of the other Junior Wallabies with Super Rugby experience come close to the regular role that Lucas has now had with the Reds in eight games and commonsense must rule on him being available.

Coach Brad Thorn wants Lucas to be playing at Suncorp Stadium and skipper Samu Kerevi said it all after the team's youngest back created the Reds' best try from nothing in Melbourne: "'Zaccy' can sure play."

Don't listen to the stats nerds who will spruik that the Reds are still a mathematical chance for the Super Rugby finals, even if they lose to NSW and four games still remain.

You're not good enough anyway If you can't start beating your closest rivals in the Australian Conference and a 1-3 record against Australian rivals this season remains Queensland rugby's most costly achilles heel.

"Our game has improved in leaps and bounds since we last played NSW (in March) and you see the benefits of more settled combinations," flyhalf Bryce Hegarty said.

"We still have to be better at capitalising on big moments and finding a full-game performance in a vital match like this against NSW."

 

The Reds lacked attack without Samu Kerevi. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
The Reds lacked attack without Samu Kerevi. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

 

The strong pack performance and come-to-play attitude in Melbourne will have heartened Thorn but not the sudden return to last year's card dramas.

The Reds were whacked 17-3 and gave up three tries during the 20 minutes they played with 14 men while Kerevi and Scott Higginbotham were in the sin bin.

Sadly, the Reds backline is bereft of cunning and Wallabies winger Sefa Naivalu has enough time to open a coffee shop out on his wing in most games because he's so unwilling to go roaming for the ball.

A sidestepping Lucas dash, like the one which shed Luke Jones and Marika Koroibete, for his try against the Rebels, Kerevi's surges, a line-splitting Bryce Hegarty run and a scoot from Tate McDermott are largely individual attacking assets because so little is created as a whole backline.