Reds wipe the slate clean - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds wipe the slate clean

Jim Morton 07/01/2011 05:07:07 PM Comments (0)

Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie has drawn a line through the heart-warming success of 2010 and demanded his resurgent Reds reinvent themselves in the expanded Super 15.

McKenzie produced one of the best coaching performances in the 15 years of Super rugby by taking the perennial battlers from second last to fifth in 2010.

With a squad which boasted just one Wallaby forward, lock James Horwill who suffered a season-ending knee injury in round two, the former Waratahs coach and 51-Test prop introduced an expansive attacking game which shocked rivals and earned rave reviews.

The Reds ultimately fell three points short of a first finals finish in nine years but their attractive style, spearheaded by halves Will Genia and Quade Cooper, drew 30,000-strong crowds to Suncorp Stadium for their last three home games.

But McKenzie knows rivals will be more alert to Queensland's dangers in the extended competition, where they will no longer fly under the radar.

"It's a new year and we can't rely on last year," he said.

"The good history won't count for much and we need to reinvent ourselves and make sure we are ultra-competitive from day one."

The extra experience of his young forwards, plus the addition of seasoned former Brumbies recruits Guy Shepherdson and Adam Wallace-Harrison, has given the Reds more flexibility with their game plans.

McKenzie said Shepherdson and fellow 2007 World Cup prop Greg Holmes, competing for starting spots behind young Wallabies James Slipper and Ben Daley, have epitomised an impressive pre-season attitude at Ballymore.

"There is a really strong vibe (from the squad) and I've been impressed with their energy levels and their effort," he said.

"However we understand there is a lot we need to get right before the season starts."

The Reds play two trials, against the Crusaders in Cairns on January 29 and the Brumbies in Darwin on February 5, before their campaign kicks off on February 20 against theWestern Force.

McKenzie is yet to announce his skipper but Horwill is expected to retain the captaincy despite the impressive 2010 efforts of stand-in Genia.

The departure of All Black Daniel Braid and off-season surgery to young back-rowers Jake Schatz (foot) and Ed Quirk (knee) has seen McKenzie call former Waratahs flankers Beau Robinson and Ben Coridas into his training squad to compete for the No.7 jersey with Lei Tomiki and young gun Liam Gill.

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