Qld Reds braced for tactical 2011 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld Reds braced for tactical 2011

By Adrian Warren 13/09/2010 07:09:27 PM Comments (0)

Thoughtful Queensland Super rugby coach Ewen McKenzie says 2011 looms as an even bigger tactical challenge for his resurgent Reds.

The Reds were the exhilarating surprise packet of the 2010 Super season rocketing up the table to fifth on the back of some scintillating running rugby following several years near the bottom of the ladder.

A robust pack of largely unheralded forwards and the exciting halves pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper were instrumental in the Reds' resurgence.

Unlike previous years when they lost key players to other local franchises, the Reds have retained virtually all of their key personnel for 2011 apart from prop Laurie Weeks who has gone to Melbourne.

"The players voted with their feet, most of them re-signed," McKenzie said.

"Everyone was telling me how we were going to be pillaged by the other provinces, it hasn't really occurred at all.

"It's an exciting time for us, but consolidation of 2010 is the real challenge.

"In many ways 2011 is a much bigger year than the one we've just had."

While the Reds probably exploited the new interpretation of the laws better than any other Super team, McKenzie recognised opposing franchises were now familiar with their style.

With Queensland hungry to break their lengthy finals drought, McKenzie hoped there would greater internal expectation among the Reds given the Test experience of their youngsters like Cooper and Genia.

After viewing the Tri-Nations, he also suggested that referees weren't favouring the attacking side at the breakdown as much as they had been in the early months of the year.

"There's no doubt that we capitalised on an opportunity and we took risks and we got rewarded for it. I guess we punted pretty well on what we thought the game might look like and got out of the box pretty well," McKenzie said.

"Everybody has had a good look at that, from a defence and an attack point of view, so it's going to be a different set of circumstances next year.

"We've already seen there's a bit more of a balancing act between attack and defence in terms of the referees which was always going to happen.

"I think we've already seen a shift in the way, the All Blacks, and even the Wallabies, particularly in the Springbok Tests.

"There's an opportunity to run, but the more you run you are going to be confronted with a 14-man defensive line, so if they bring the wingers up, then there's space in behind them to put the ball behind them.

"If there's a little bit more kicking, but it will be more attack-orientated rather than hoofing the ball down the other end and trying to play field positions.

McKenzie wasn't worried that the new Super format could give some teams an advantage as not all sides will play each other.

"This year, we would've been on everyone's `there's an easy five points' list, it didn't pan out that way, I don't think you can assume that any team is automatically a gimme."

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