Reds captain Liam Wright described his side’s performance against the Sharks as ‘very un-Queensland.’ Picture: AAP
Reds captain Liam Wright described his side’s performance against the Sharks as ‘very un-Queensland.’ Picture: AAP

Reds need wins on the road to salvage season

REDS skipper Liam Wright apologised for "very un-Queensland" rugby from his team and it will take something equally "un-Queensland" to repair this season.

Making up for the 33-23 loss to the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium can only come by pinching an unexpected victory on the road now the Reds have slumped to a 1-4 record.

Upsetting the champion Crusaders on Friday night for the first time in Christchurch since 1999 may be too big an ask but winning elsewhere is not.

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The Reds have games in Tokyo, Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne over the next three months to shake up their poor three-from-19 record away from Brisbane under coach brad Thorn.

Wright's sideline comment about "Un-Queensland" mistakes was made to Fox Sports and reflected his deep frustration last Saturday night.

 

At one point in the first half, Wright didn't know what to do when awarded a scrum penalty on attack.

He had Jock Campbell knock over a penalty goal because he couldn't trust kicking to touch after two earlier lineouts had imploded before mauling drives could even be initiated.

Five attacking lineouts were botched and for different reasons...poor Alex Mafi throws, a Harry Hockings fumble and ragged formations.

Reds coach Brad Thorn after the match. Picture: AAP
Reds coach Brad Thorn after the match. Picture: AAP

The Reds can fix the lineout in a few detailed sessions but five weeks have done little to improve the rolling maul, either their own or defending 20m surges for the first Sharks try,

"The Sharks pressured us very well and got some free hits on us," Wright said.

"Why it's so very frustrating is when you can say 'look what we can do?' by treasuring the ball and building pressure as we did for eight minutes after full-time."

Neither Wright, Thorn or any long-term Reds fan could remember a match going eight extra minutes after the siren for the belated Ed Craig try.

There are two big injury clouds for Christchurch.

The good news about flyhalf James O'Connor's right ankle sprain is that it's not the same ankle which needed surgery and a long recovery between 2016-18.

All too briefly, he showed how to play the Sharks. He took the ball directly at the defence and had three touches in Henry Speight's good try.

James O'Connor came off with an ankle injury. Picture: AAP
James O'Connor came off with an ankle injury. Picture: AAP

O'Connor may make it but young No.8 Harry Wilson is due some rest and his head knock may be reason enough to spell him after five games.

"There's no better place to play than against the best team at their home ground," Wright said.

"No one is going to be backing us but we are going to Christchurch to put it all on the line."

The Reds really are masters of fluffing their own script.

Back-to-back wins at Suncorp Stadium with a victory over a play-offs quality opponent would have convinced fans that something was different about the Reds this year.

Instead, the Reds are in a backs-to-the-wall fight for relevance for the seventh straight season.