Thorn: Young Reds have plenty to build on
ALL the young players who have broken into the Reds this season should have a fire burning inside for Friday night's final game and their part in the build-up to next season.
I'd hope some real motivation is driving a big finish on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium after the old-fashioned spanking we took giving up 60 points to the Sunwolves in Tokyo.
Anyone who knows me, knows I don't want to be playing the last game of the year in the middle of July.
You want to be playing finals. I lived to play finals, as a player, and we're building something here at the Reds for that kind of future.
It's been a solid battle, that's for sure, but a worthy one because I took on this job feeling I could contribute.
I've been up front all year about bringing the young guys through and, at times, the average age of the Reds has been the youngest in Super Rugby at around 22-23.
These are different players to the names on paper at the start of the year.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa ...15 games. Angus Scott-Young ... 13 games. Jordie Petaia ... 10 games. Harry Hockings ... 11 games. Liam Wright ... 11 games. Filipo Daugunu ... 13 games. Hamish Stewart ... his first games as a starting No.10. Angus Blyth ... his first taste on Friday night.
These players and others now have games under their belts, know the expectations and understand that playing for Queensland is not a hobby but a profession.
We are looking for high performance consistently and there should be a real good taste in their mouths around what it looks like.
I called the performance against the Sunwolves in May embarrassing and it sits with the loss to the Blues as the really disappointing points of the season.
We're a work-in-progress as a team just as I am as a coach but we have performed pretty darn well and competed hard for the most part.
I'll say it again. I see something in this group of men and we are chipping away for more.
Unfortunately, George Smith is not on the park on Friday night for a final game because it's smart to look after his knee.
I have massive respect for George and what he's been doing for 18 years.
I used to hit bodies at rucks and in that No.7 position they are the guys mainly getting hit.
The very best are very brave and George is right up there with Richie McCaw and the greats of the position.
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