A fatal 14 minutes has exposed the Reds’ soft underbelly, as they feebly rolled over to fall 46-17 to the Chiefs.
A 19 point blitz from the Chiefs in the 14 minutes after half time was all it took for the Reds to roll over after they hung tough in the opening 40 minutes.
The three tries – two to stalwart Stephen Donald – were soft and though the Reds settled to claw some of the margin back, it was more of the same for the underperforming Queenslanders.
Week after week they preach the importance of staying “switched on” or “online” for 80 minutes and week after week they fail to do so.They were good enough to go with the Chiefs in the first half and showed terrific attacking endeavour to turn down three kickable penalties and pick up two tries – Stephen Moore falling over the line for his second rolling maul try in as many weeks to open the scoring before Eto Nabuli crossed in a fortuitous manner.
But that was where the first half scoring would start and end, as they let the Chiefs into the game through dumb errors and penalties.
A bad Samu Kerevi drop ball from the restart after the Moore try was the first example of that – Kane Hames burrowing his way over just enough to convince the TMO he had found some white paint for the Chiefs’ first score.
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A lazy George Smith shoulder charge then left the Reds a man short and the Chiefs took advantage – Damian McKenzie slotting two penalties before Charlie Ngatai crossed for a soft try to open up the 20-12 half time break.
The second half was eerily similar to the way the Reds let the game slip away against the Brumbies.
After walking into the sheds with high spirits, the Queenslanders had their tails between their legs by the time the clock hit the 60 minute mark.
Sam Cane pinched the ball off Duncan Paia’aua at the second half restart and Dominic Bird had scored two minutes later.
Donald reeled off a double in the next 11 minutes and the Reds rolled over.
They scored a well worked try through Campbell Magnay but there were too many missed tackles, not enough line speed and a crumbling set piece which sealed Queensland’s fate in the second half.James Lowe’s try was the bonus point winner for the Chiefs but it also told the tale of this match.
Quade Cooper slipped off Lowe as he stood stationary in the tackle and he ran 40 metres untouched to score – Paia’aua slipping over as the winger stepped inside him.
Two shocking defensive errors that resulted in points for the Chiefs.
Another week, another dispiriting Reds performance.
Will they ever turn it around?
Tries: Hames, Ngatai, Bird, Donald 2, Lowe
Cons: McKenzie 5
Pens: McKenzie 2
Tries: Moore, Nabuli, Magnay