Reds keen to target Force's MacKay - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds keen to target Force's MacKay

By Jim Morton 14/04/2008 06:44:10 PM Comments (0)

Reds coach Phil Mooney freely admits his side is ready to apply the blowtorch to stand-in Force five-eighth Lachlan MacKay, as the Queenslanders search for their first interstate Super 14 win in two years.

The Reds tackle the Force in Brisbane on Friday night without regular pivot Matt Giteau (neck injury) and Mooney is looking to capitalise.

"I'm sure they will miss him," Mooney said of Giteau, who is a walk-up start to wear the Wallabies No.10 jersey this season.

"(MacKay) certainly hasn't got the kicking and passing game that Matt Giteau has got, nor the running game."

Giteau played just a quarter of the Force's 17-12 loss to NSW, which pitch-forked MacKay into the fray.

MacKay, troubled by injuries for much of his career, has played just 18 Super matches since debuting for NSW in 2004.

But the 25-year-old, who is expected to get the nod to start after a solid effort off the bench last weekend, said he welcomed the challenge.

"They will come my way but in saying that we've got some pretty exciting players in our backline and my role will be to feed them and give them the opportunities," MacKay said.

"So I don't think the Reds can concentrate on targeting me too much with all the players around me.

"My job will be made a lot easier by those guys that are around me and I don't think I have to try and overplay my hand too much and do those things Gits does on the field.

"I'm not going to bring that sort of individual brilliance to the game that he does but I can help control it."

MacKay is likely to pip exciting prospect James O'Connor, who is expected to make a highly anticipated debut off the bench.

The 17-year-old utility back is one of four Force players whose services are being vigorously chased by the opposition.

Rated Australia's `next Giteau' by many leading judges, O'Connor joins young teammates David Pocock and Tom Hockings as Force players in the sights of the Reds.

Queensland are desperate to lure home the exciting trio after watching them slip through their fingers over the past two seasons.

The Reds are expected to meet with them after Friday night's game, just as Force officials will speak with incumbent Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore who is leaving Ballymore.

Moore admitted he had a tough choice between the Force and the Brumbies for 2009 but insisted he was completely committed to delivering for the Reds.

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