Hardman epitomises new attitude at Reds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hardman epitomises new attitude at Reds

By Jim Morton 17/03/2010 07:51:22 PM Comments (0)

Record-breaking Reds hooker Sean Hardman is battling for minutes on the paddock and he couldn't be happier.

Hardman still has the desire and drive to see out his 12-season Super rugby career as a starting player but the 141-cap Queensland stalwart is pleased young rake Saia Faingaa has epitomised the born-again Reds.

Faingaa and his twin Anthony started the retention ball rolling for Queensland on Wednesday when they re-signed for a further two seasons.

The pair, two of 23 off-contract Reds at Ballymore in 2010, have gone from unreliable fringe players to in-form starters as the Reds have enjoyed an exciting 3-2 start under Ewen McKenzie.

Since being injured in the opening round 30-28 loss to NSW, Hardman has had to bide his time on the bench behind Saia Faingaa, 23.

"He's an example of a few guys who have relished the new regime and the new beginning for the Reds," said the 32-year-old former Wallaby. "There's a definite feel about the place and guys are putting their hands up and benefiting from it.

"Having said that I'd like to push my case to be back in the starting side. I'm not here just making up the numbers.

"But I'd much rather have that challenge with Saia here and fighting for that spot."

Hardman's importance to the Reds was shown when he was virtually begged to play an extra season last year after they plunged to second last.

He followed that up by talking star three-quarter Digby Ioane into re-signing.

Hardman's not on the hustings again in his swansong season as he believes the change in attitude and results under McKenzie speaks for itself.

Even though tight-five starters Laurie Weeks and Adam Byrnes have reportedly committed to the new Melbourne Rebels franchise, the front-rower would be surprised if any Reds chose to leave.

"I'd be sure to say players always want to be part of a team moving forward and having momentum," he said.

"While it's only a start and we're not a world-beating team yet the guys can feel that energy at the moment and that's going to be very attractive and there's going to be guys in other states keeping an eye on what's going on here."

Hardman has played under seven coaches at the Reds, starting with John Connolly in 1999, and said there was growing club culture with McKenzie at the helm.

"I think there's a level of accountability that we haven't had before and Ewen has brought a lot of intensity to the playing group," he said.

"It's pretty clear that if you put in the effort the opportunities and rewards will come.

"I think a lot of us appreciate his brutal honesty - it's something I haven't seen since the last time we made a hit at the finals way back when."

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