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Another pina colada thanks, but we're drinking to a fine vintage for Reds

Date

Ewen McKenzie

'I am not sure where it is written that just because you win a championship that it’s automatic that you can no longer be motivated enough to win another.'

'I am not sure where it is written that just because you win a championship that it’s automatic that you can no longer be motivated enough to win another.' Photo: Getty Images

So I am led to believe that we are going to be ''hunted" this year. The Queensland Reds are going to be targeted, while also being so riddled with complacency and the good life that they are incapable of mustering a whimper let alone a sweat.

Going out there and playing rugby each week is just going to be just too hard for this group - it's a bridge too far - bring me another pina colada and get Big Kev a mojito from the wet bar.

Contrary to popular opinion, our young charges, whose average age is just 24, have not had their feet up. I am not sure where it is written that just because you win a championship that it's automatic that you can no longer be motivated enough to win another.

Where is the logic that players who have been at the wrong end of the competition for so long, then suddenly taste success, become so overcome with the situation that it's impossible to rally again? Let it be said that a souffle rises but once - but the Reds are not a souffle.

From where might this apparent complacency arise, I ask myself? No doubt it can come from within.

Cutting corners might be a ticket to the slow lane; intra-relationships may change; the motivational coach's speech might become a bit repetitious; the ability to think laterally and innovative may dry up; or the resistance to change may become prevalent. All these are possibilities but I don't concede these issues will automatically become a problem based on what was seen last year.

Externally, doomsday merchants are quick to suggest that winning the title was a fluke. To that I respond that winning 15 of 18 games was no fluke. The reality is turning a team around that won just three games only two years ago to 15 last year doesn't happen by accident. The unhappy say the Australian Conference was the weakest but at the final hurdle, against the Crusaders in the final, we were heavy underdogs and still won.

A lot has happened the past six months to make the idea of complacency a remote possibility at best. It's certainly folly in elite sports to make assumptions and leave things to chance.

Culturally, the Reds are set up to expect change, and that's exactly where we are right now. There has been a transformation, and we are different both on and off the field.

Two trial wins suggest that we have not become bogged down in our banana lounges and not a lot remains of the physical environment that the Reds became accustomed to and utilised to mount their successful campaign last year.

We had the opportunity to change the dynamics for the team and staff and create a new feel for the team - with greater efficiency and greater communication opportunities.

We'll be better for it, and already it's showing. There is nothing better in elite sport than finding a significant advantage, and it's not always about things you do on the field.

More of the same brings the possibility of others catching up. Doing nothing, not taking risks or not trying to be better are not part of our DNA.

Another pina colada please.

5 comments so far

  • Thanks Ewen, I like many other Reds fans, I'm sure, am sick to death of all the poor comments that have been flying around about how lucky the Reds were, the weak conference etc etc. Congrats again on your hard fought title last year and good luck for the upcoming season (not that you'll need it, your hard work will shine through). GO THE REDS!

    Commenter
    Redmond
    Location
    Redtown
    Date and time
    February 23, 2012, 11:29AM
    • I am a big Tah's fan, but it is absurd to argue that the Reds were not the best team in the S15 last year. It is just sour grapes. They played in all different styles depending on the game situation - and deposed the greatest provincial franchise in Rugby in the final.

      I guess I would argue that complacency comes about in winning team, not because of any deliberateness, but that because the players have now 'won a S15 title' - how willing are they to push themselves to the limit again with like they were last year. Similar to the Collingwood team in the AFL last year.

      Good luck though Ewan and the Red's - I would rather see the Tah's have success against a great Red's team than be the beneficiary of some drop in their standards.

      Commenter
      ew75
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 23, 2012, 1:25PM
      • lie ew75 I'm a rusted on Tah's fan but loved the Reds' great season last year. Well done Ewen & lads and good luck ths year - for all the games except the ones against us - lol.

        Commenter
        topender
        Location
        Darwin
        Date and time
        February 23, 2012, 4:13PM
        • "Let it be said that a souffle rises but once - but the Reds are not a souffle"

          Love it Ewen, all the best to you and your charges.

          Commenter
          seismicchris
          Location
          Quirindi
          Date and time
          February 23, 2012, 5:50PM
          • "Where is the logic that players who have been at the wrong end of the competition for so long, then suddenly taste success, become so overcome with the situation that it's impossible to rally again?"

            There is no logic at all Ewen. It's sour grapes. Like some of the other posters i'm a Tahs fan but it was great to see the Reds get up last year. They played the best rugby and although kiwi's will argue that the Crusaders didn't have a home ground, the Reds turned them over 3 times. A strong Reds team can only be good for Australian rugby. Great work Ewen. If the Waratahs don't win it this year then i'd love to see the Reds go back-to-back.

            Commenter
            Dirk
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            February 24, 2012, 9:51AM

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