Complacent Queensland Reds failing to fire
Frustrated Queensland skipper Will Genia has accused the Reds of complacency after being out-enthused and outplayed by Super Rugby battlers, the Western Force.
In their most disappointing home performance in three years under Ewen McKenzie, Queensland looked a shadow of the team which has topped the Australian conference in the past two seasons.
Inspired by former All Blacks halfback Alby Mathewson, the Force ended the Reds' three-game streak with a 19-12 victory on Saturday night - their opening win of 2013 and first at Suncorp Stadium.
Genia admitted the visitors - led up front by ex-Queenslanders Hugh McMeniman, Angus Cottrell and Richard Brown - were hungrier in a complete team performance.
In contrast, the Reds were tentative in attack as they wasted their few try-scoring chances with poor option-taking and handling.
"The most frustrating thing is we feel like we've been trotting along and have just been a bit complacent," the Wallabies halfback said on Sunday.
"They just seem like they wanted it more and, in the end, that was a telling factor."
Most concerning for Reds fans is they have yet to click with the ball this year and are failing to take on the line in the manner that won them the 2011 title.
The 11th-hour selection of Mike Harris at outside centre, replacing Anthony Faingaa (back), was a surprise and could have cost them when a faster option like Aidan Toua or Chris Feauai-Sautia could have finished their best try-scoring chance late in the first half.
Off-key five-eighth Quade Cooper endured a second disappointing ball-playing game in three weeks and rarely threatened once Genia was replaced at halftime.
The mercurial playmaker is yet to regain the confidence and zip he showed for the Reds two years ago, but McKenzie wouldn't blame Cooper.
"I'm waiting for the whole team to fire," he said. "Quade's part of the team.
"As I said last week, we've got plenty in us and we certainly didn't put it out there today. I guess it's next week we'll be looking for it."
Captain James Horwill has been sorely missed for his forward leadership and power and his expected return from an ankle injury would be a massive boost against the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Suspended winger Digby Ioane will also make a welcome return, while Genia should be available for 80 minutes after producing a sharp comeback from knee surgery.
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