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Familiarity breeds content for Reds

Date

Ewen McKenzie

The Reds will be back on home turf this weekend after two beltings away in the past fortnight.

The Reds will be back on home turf this weekend after two beltings away in the past fortnight. Photo: Getty Images

Success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan. Never have truer words been uttered as cumulative losses build an intensity and focus on our 2012 campaign.

One thing that always makes me smile when facing challenging situations is the predictability that comes with the circumstances. Press conferences always get bigger and people start to write to you more. There is something gladiatorial about this - a bit of blood in the water and the sharks appear.

What you can control is how you handle yourself. No matter if we are winning or losing, we will keep fronting up and telling it like it is. There are always reasons for things happening and we didn't become a championship-winning team overnight, nor will we become a bad team overnight.

It has been a disappointing patch but it can sometimes be as simple as eradicating one or two errors or even having the bounce of the ball go your way. There have been so many close games this year and the little things can make the difference.

I've never been a big proponent of discussing issues pertaining to playing at home or away, but I must admit it's nice to be back. Routine under pressure is a good thing because the little things become more obvious and it's the little things that make the difference.

Already you can sense a different feel among the group. Our first team meeting back in Brisbane included our 12 injured players and watching them train was uplifting for everyone. As the week has progressed, I have seen Ben Lucas and Mike Harris running freely and Quade Cooper is beginning to get back into the action.

On Tuesday, Quade was fielding high balls and he even ran the opposition back-line's attack in our opposed work. While he wasn't doing contact, you can see he is not far away. All of this elevates the group.

From a pragmatic standpoint, our preparation has also been enhanced, with more bodies available to attend to our strategic needs. Technology is also back at your fingertips and even small things, such as having internet that works, are a positive.

Travel is part of the game, but when you are under pressure - and on the road - the sum of little things makes it hard.

Already this year we have been travelling for five of the past eight weeks and have played just two of eight games in Brisbane, if you include trials. During this time we have been to Cairns, Perth, Sydney, Durban, Johannesburg, Perth and, of course, Brisbane. That's six significant time zone changes and a heap of hotel nights. Never has it been so good to be back in our own beds.

We now have a chance to reassess where we are at with six games played and 10 to come. That's another 40 available competition points if we are good enough. The impact of a four-point bye is not reflected throughout the competition, so ladder position is not comparable just yet.

Rather than assessing our standing, it's important to reflect on where we have been and the causes of what has occurred.

We opened our season with three straight wins. We weren't attack-orientated during these games as they turned out to be pragmatic derby affairs. We then went to South Africa determined to build our attack and were leading the Sharks 17-0 before the little things began to change. Yellow cards and two injured playmakers/goal kickers later and the match ends in a five-point loss.

Rugby is a game of momentum and everything is in the pot. When you alter the ingredients you can get a massive change in taste.

One of the main ingredients in our success is Suncorp Stadium and we cannot wait to get back in front of our fans. We are expecting a big crowd and will be buoyed knowing we have won 16 of our last 17 games there.

We won't be feeling like orphans tomorrow night. It's great to be back.

16 comments so far

  • You always write a good article Link but it's your nonsensical selections that have let you down so far this year. Which have clearly confused and unsettled your players. They usually know who should play where. Perhaps you should ask them ? Instead of imposing silly selections they obviously arent buying. It's called "subconscious protest". A bit of hubris also crept in to yourself and the team, believing your own press, especially after pulling off flukey wins early on, where you didn't have to try too hard. Denying you were lucky was also a denial of sub-standard performance. Didn't that come back and bite you on the backside ! Now it's time to stand and deliver and the Brumbies are going to be a hell of a mountain to climb but climb it you must, if you and the team are to retain any credibility. Just do it.

    Commenter
    johnny-boy
    Date and time
    April 05, 2012, 7:50AM
    • Well done Link! Well done Reds for digging deep and showing the QLD spirit. Down with the naysayers!! Nice selection bringing in Time Lane from left field. How da ya like that Johny-boy!!?

      Commenter
      CannonballKoala
      Date and time
      April 07, 2012, 1:19PM
  • Once again, True Life Lessons from the Wallabies Coach in waiting, I`ve seen first hand the sense of family emanating from this teram and I think this is what will carry them back to winning form over everything else. Theres a reason why Reds membership has gone through the roof this season and that`ll be no more evident than at Suncorp this Friday night. Go hard boys and back yourselves.

    Commenter
    2Dogs
    Date and time
    April 05, 2012, 9:47AM
    • So Quade is back on the pitch and running freely but NOT doing contact. That sounds exactly like Quade before he was injured. Does this mean he is ready now?

      Commenter
      JapanBoy
      Date and time
      April 05, 2012, 10:31AM
      • @JapanBoy
        The only person that wouldn't like that observation would be Quade and his Mother.
        Nasty but delicious!
        I think, on reflection, even his Mum would feel alright with that especially after the toxic taunting he received during the RWC!
        Nice taunt but cheap!

        Commenter
        Machooka
        Location
        inner west sydney
        Date and time
        April 07, 2012, 5:00PM
    • I always like reading your comments Link but I can only hope that the Reds put in a better display than the one against the Rebels at Suncorp a few weeks ago. I was there and it was probably one of the worst games of rugby I've seen in 20 years. A couple more like that and the crowds could well start to dwindle.

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Location
      QLD
      Date and time
      April 05, 2012, 10:50AM
      • Get serious, the crux of your argument then is that you are trying to shift the blame on your teams abysmal performance on a change in momentum caused by two yellow cards and some injuries.

        You would then be absolutely right then about the predictability that comes with the circumstances, it's always someone else's fault, never the teams or the coach.

        Yellow cards and injuries happen to all teams, the mark of great teams is how they handle it.You and your team need to take this on your shoulders and admit your performance wasn't anywhere near good enough before you can really move on. Talking big won;t help, it's action that is required.

        Commenter
        burmans
        Date and time
        April 05, 2012, 10:51AM
        • The 12 first pick injured palyers will probably be double the number of ALP members in the QLD parliament after the byelection.

          12 is a pretty big proportion of a 22 man team.

          How did you like the fifth choice 10 and sixth choice kicker last night >>>

          Commenter
          Andy
          Date and time
          April 07, 2012, 4:47PM
      • Go Reds Go Reds Go Reds. We still love ya! Piggies - get your mongrel going and recycle the ball cleanly.

        Commenter
        Gough
        Date and time
        April 05, 2012, 11:10AM
        • Blah blah blah. Not once did the Canterbury Crusaders complain let alone publish an entire article dedicated to the obvious pros and cons of home and away matches in 2011.

          Commenter
          BamBam
          Location
          Christchurch
          Date and time
          April 05, 2012, 11:19AM

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