McDermott, McReight sent off in shock Reds Super loss

Alex Mitchell |

Tate McDermott’s red card helped consign Queensland to a 17-14 defeat against Moana Pasifika.
Tate McDermott’s red card helped consign Queensland to a 17-14 defeat against Moana Pasifika.

Poor discipline from Wallabies halfback and Queensland Reds captain Tate McDermott has cost his side badly in a 17-14 loss to Moana Pasifika.

McDermott was red-carded for a shocking swinging arm on Moana flanker Irie Papuni in the second half in Whangarei on Friday night, and had to watch from the sidelines when five-eighth William Havili scored a match-winning try just a minute from time.

The Reds produced a sub-par opening and were down 10-0 at halftime.

But they found an avenue into the game with a try soon after the break, before McDermott’s strike left them a man down.

Queensland still wrestled their way to the lead when winger Jordan Petaia crossed on 71 minutes, and looked likely to snap a two-game losing streak.

But flanker Fraser McReight also received a red card seven minutes from time for a high shot and the Pasifika outfit made the most of it, with Havili finding the space to cross in the 80th minute.

“We had a lot of pressure-relieving moments for them, which sort of wiped out some good moments that we had,” Reds forward Liam Wright acknowledged.

“Errors cost us but at the same time we put ourselves right back in the fight.

“Two red cards is never good, but the boys really fought with 14 men, we found a game-style that suited the game.

“We had our moment there towards the end but unfortunately couldn’t quite do it.”

McDermott faces the prospect of a lengthy stint on the sidelines for his strike, swinging at Papuni while dragging him to the ground in a tackle.

The incident was initially graded a yellow card offence before being upgraded to red, the same fate that met McReight for his shot.

Queensland made five handling errors in the first half-hour and kicked the ball out on the full several times, with the uncharacteristic mistakes costing them a chance to get into the game.

Reeling from three straight losses by a combined 134 points, the Pasifika outfit played with serious grit early and could have even led by more than they did at halftime.

The competition’s record tryscorer Julian Savea was the only player to cross in the first period, with a powerful effort from close to the line that flattened multiple Reds.

Some odd decision-making and strong defence meant Moana only netted three points from winning three penalties deep in opposition territory.

And the Reds swung the contest instantly after halftime, prop Peni Ravai lifting them back to 10-7.

Centre Josh Flook looked to have scored and given Queensland the lead, but McDermott’s indiscretion led to that try being chalked off.

Match-winning hero Havili said it was exactly the performance his squad was crying out for after their recent poor run of results.

“I’m happy after our last few weeks, we know we haven’t been putting our best foot forward for our fans and our people, and also our players,” he said.

“We know we’ve got much more to give than that, and we made it a bit hard for ourselves.

“It means a lot, we’ve been talking all about having belief through the week, even though the rub of the green hasn’t gone our way.”