Reds’ offence clicks, Kiss era begins with rivalry win

Murray Wenzel |

Tate McDermott was one of four Reds tryscorers their 40-22 win over the Waratahs in Brisbane.
Tate McDermott was one of four Reds tryscorers their 40-22 win over the Waratahs in Brisbane.

Les Kiss’s Queensland Reds tenure has begun with flashes of brilliance and moments of plain ridiculousness as the hosts beat the NSW Waratahs in a nine-try Super Rugby Pacific skirmish.

The Reds’ 40-22 win at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday wasn’t short of highlights, the rivals chancing their arms in a feisty season opener played on a wet Brisbane night.

The hosts also won the scrum, ruck and line-out in a tick for Kiss, the former Queensland State of Origin winger with a decade of European coaching experience who has replaced long-term mentor Brad Thorn.

Kiss had encouraged his men to test their limits and they certainly did that, fullback Jordan Petaia the ultimate example in front of 14,593 fans.

The enigmatic two-time World Cup centre mixed errors with the incredible.

His torpedoed volley, booted out of the air as he ran towards the sideline to gather a long Waratahs kick, was hard to believe as it soared more than 50 metres down the line.

Petaia was also awarded a penalty try on halftime when Max Jorgensen was ruled to have tackled him before regathering winger Suliasi Vunivalu’s clever grubber while at full flight.

That try gave the Reds a 21-15 lead and sent the fullback, returning from a broken leg, to the bin for 10 minutes.

After six lead changes in the first half the Reds put the foot down, but only after Jorgensen had returned.

Queensland Reds players celebrating a try.
The Reds celebrate a try by Fraser McReight (7) against NSW at Suncorp Stadium. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Matt Faessler crossed for his second try of the night and Tate McDermott scored in the corner from Harry Wilson’s trick play, the superb No.8 heeling to himself and flicking a pass between his legs to the halfback.

Dylan Pietsch then used pace and some luck to grab his second for the visitors, a pass inside bouncing off a Reds defender and back into his hands to score.

But Fraser McReight’s effort soon after shut down any hopes of a comeback, Vunivalu evasive and No.13 Josh Flook running a great line to put the flanker over after Petaia’s incredible kick earned them prime field position.

“The boys should be happy; I’m happy but there were a number of times in the coaching box when we had a few flutters,” Kiss said.

He said the balance between knowing when to attack or not remained “delicate” and, ahead of a second-round clash with the Hurricanes, admitted in the wet conditions they had probably overplayed their hand.

“It was a good win (but) … if we give them 14 turnovers, half are going to be hurting us,” he said.

Test hooker Faessler was solid while No.10 Tom Lynagh carried confidently and found great distance with his kicking in the wet.

Debutant five-eighth Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, only 19, drilled a sideline conversion in his first act after replacing him.

Waratahs coach Darren Coleman praised the Reds’ lineout and particularly flanker Liam Wright, as well as his backrow partners Wilson and McReight for out-pointing his men around the park.

“Pretty potent trio aren’t they, and all complement each other,” he said.

Waratahs centre Izaia Perese, who suffered a concussion, didn’t return in the second half.