1. Tensions sizzled not fizzled
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It’s been a rough few years for keen spectators of the Reds- Waratahs rivalry, particularly those north of the border. This Suncorp Stadium stoush was one of the best of recent times and certainly one of the best performances by Queensland in the past three years. As well as the closest scoreline in three seasons, it was handbags at 20 paces for a lot of the game. There was nothing of long-term note but constant tension cut a swathe through the match, something few fans would be sad about.
2. Ant-man Fainga’a
He’s slipped back into the Reds team with little fanfare, but Anthony Fainga’a has added some superhuman force into the Queensland side. The inside centre attacked every ruck with ferocity and forced the Waratahs on to the back foot. His execution might lack at times, but he has the power of a man four times his size, at least.
3. Go for the kill
We’ve said it before and hopefully we don’t have to say it again – The Reds need to build a bit of Chuck Norris about them and go for the kill when they have the chance. They’ve been in winning positions every week for the past three matches and again at Suncorp they just let their opposition off in critical moments. A team can only go through so many honourable losses before harder questions have to be asked. Pull out the knife and put it to your opponents’ throats, Queensland (metaphorically, not literally, of course).
4. Cry for the Tahs without their Argentinian
It’s going to be a long, hard road ahead for the Waratahs scrum.Set piece coach Mario Ledesma joined the Wallabies this season and veteran prop Sekope Kepu departed. Those absences hurt them more than anticipated. That it started poorly early in the year might have been put down to an adjustment period but five weeks, including a bye, of being beaten in the set piece is unforgivable.
5. Phipps the everywhere man
A divisive halfback in some circles, Nick Phipps is still one of the most effective NSW players. The Wallabies back up scrumhalf is involved in almost everything across the field and held up two Reds players on the try line on Sunday, ultimately game-deciding acts. The 26-year-old finished with 13 tackles for the game, the most of any player on the field.