MATCH REPORT: Tenacious Tahs go down swinging against the Reds

Sat, Feb 24, 2024, 11:13 AM
Waratahs Media
by Waratahs Media

Despite a tenacious performance complimented by a positive portrayal of improved intensity, the NSW Waratahs have gone down 40-22 to the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

The oldest rivalry in Australian rugby brings out the best between both clubs and the competitiveness was evident from the outset.

The boot of Waratahs flyhalf Tane Edmed opened the scoring in the 8th minute of play with a penalty goal, but the home side hit the front three minutes later with a try adjacent to the posts by Reds inside centre Hunter Paisami.

Against the run of play, the brilliance of Mark Nawaqanitawase came to the fore to regain the lead for NSW when the electric winger intercepted a Tate McDermott pass and found his skipper Jake Gordon in support.

Gordon’s try saw him climb to the third-highest try scorer in Super Rugby for the Waratahs.

The lead again changed when on the back of a booming 50-metre kick from Tom Lynagh, the Queensland pack powered forward, creating an opportunity for Matt Faessler to touch down.

But the tenacious Tahs refused to give up. In prime attacking territory, terrific quick hands from Jed Holloway provided Max Jorgensen with enough space to weave his magic and send Dylan Pietsch over in the left-hand corner.

The sea-sawing nature of the first forty minutes continued with the sixth lead change of the half.

On the stroke of half-time, the Reds were awarded a contentious penalty try after Jorgensen was deemed to have tackled Jordan Petaia a fraction too early without the ball, leaving the Tahs behind 21-15 at half-time.

To rub salt into the Waratahs’ wounds, Jorgensen was also issued a yellow card, leaving the visitors a man down to start the second stanza.

Jorgensen’s absence was further compounded by Izaia Perese succumbing to concussion symptoms at half-time, resulting in Harry Wilson coming on at outside centre.

Whilst NSW withstood the pressures derived from playing a man down to start the second half, the Reds managed to extend their advantage when Faessler scored his second in the 52nd minute and McDermott dived over four minutes later to make it 33-15.

NSW hit back in the 59th minute when a great ball from Joey Walton put Pietsch into space. The lightning-quick winger then looked to position Walton on the inside but when his pass was touched by Petaia, Pietsch showed tremendous reflexes to recollect the ball and cross for his second to reduce the Tahs deficit to 11 points.

But Queensland sealed their victory when Josh Flook scythed through the middle of the field to create a try for Fraser McReight. Harry McLaughlin-Phillips’ second conversion took the final score out to 40-22.

Waratahs prop Angus Bell was disappointed with the result but pleased to see the improvements made by the team from the trials.

“The Reds were too good tonight and that showed on the scoreboard,” Bell said.

“They’re a great team and it’s always hard to win at Suncorp. I thought we were better than what we were in our previous trial against them, but our discipline cost us again and that’s something that we’ve got to fix up.

“We know that individually we’ve got some great players and some great athletes, but we’ve just got to find that balance and improve on our team cohesion.

“We’ve got a big challenge against the Crusaders next week, so we’ve got to learn from this and keep working hard.”

Queensland Reds 40

Tries: Matt Faessler 2, Hunter Paisami, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, penalty try

Conversions: Tom Lynagh 2/3, Harry McLaughlin-Phillips 2/2

Penalties: 0

New South Wales Waratahs 22

Tries: Dylan Pietsch 2, Jake Gordon

Conversions: Tane Edmed 2/3

Penalties: Tane Edmed 1/1