Samu Kerevi and the Reds will fight fire with fire on Saturday, eager to get the ball in the hands of outside backs starved of the ball over the past month.
The Lions are capable of some of the most exhilarating rugby in the competition but the Reds, to date, have played football in stark contrast to their opposition on Saturday.
No team has scored less tries to date this season and while Kerevi has thrived with the extra ball he is getting his hands on at inside centre, the removal of Duncan Paia’aua from the starting XV has limited the impact of those playing on the fringes.
Izaia Perese has subsequently lost his starting spot as coach Brad Thorn searches for fresh spark in the form of Jordan Petaia and Kerevi is well aware of the attacking burden he must carry now regular playmaker Jono Lance is out of the clash with the Lions, too.“We’ve spoken about that this week, getting (the wingers) more of the ball,” Kerevi said.
“Aidan (Toua) coming into the line – we can all contribute in getting the ball out there.”
Kerevi will need to play more of a playmaking hand in order to do that but the large majority of the attacking burden will fall on the shoulders of young gun Hamish Stewart, who will make his first start of the season in place of Lance.
“Jono is a massive loss for us but Hamish coming in, he’s young but we trust in his ability,” Kerevi said.
“He doesn’t shy away from contact and that’s a good thing for us.
“Defensively, we trust that he can make his tackles.
“Our halves are there to control the game and it’s obviously a step up from NRC – with Hamish not starting much for us – so for him to get the nod we know Thorny is backing him and the rest of the team does as well.”
While putting more points on the board is a necessity, improving the defensive errors which cost Queensland any chance of going with the Chiefs is also on the agenda.
“Our work rate needs to be better and we have all addressed that,” Kerevi said.
“The Chiefs played around the corner pretty well and we didn’t work hard enough to get there.
“We need to get that edge about us in defence.”
The Reds will all wear club or school socks on Saturday, a brilliant nod to the grassroots foundation upon which all careers are built.
“I think it’s awesome to really showcase where we’ve come through, how we’ve come through,” Kerevi said.
“Obviously everyone comes through school and club and this weekend, I’m really excited to wear the Brisbane State High socks along with a few other boys.
“We’re excited to showcase that and I think it’s important.
“Grass roots rugby is where we all came from and it’s a really good initiative from Queensland for us to be able to wear the socks.”
The Reds host the Lions at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio.
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