The Rebels hammered the Reds 45-19 after Scott Higginbotham was sent off early in the first half in Melbourne on Friday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
New coach Dave Wessels will be pleased after his side came away with the five log points. The Rebels scored as many as seven tries in the Australian derby.
That said, there’s no getting around the fact that the contest was shaped by a couple of foul-play incidents.
Higginbotham failed to use his arms when attempting to make a tackle in the 10th minute of the first half. The referee and TMO noted that Higginbotham’s shoulder made contact with the ball-carrier’s head. Having come to that conclusion, referee Brendon Pickerill flashed a red card to leave the Reds short-handed for the remainder of the match.
Reds centre Duncan Paia’aua crossed the line in the 20th minute to give the visitors some hope. The game slipped away from the Reds, however, after lock Lukhan Tui was shown yellow for a tip-tackle.
The Rebels scored two tries in Tui’s absence. They were well in control at half-time, with the scoreboard reading 26-14.
The Reds started to show signs of fatigue, especially on defence. Wing Sefa Naivalu, fullback Dane Haylett-Petty and flyhalf Jack Debreczeni all scored two tries before the end of the contest.
Debreczeni scored 20 points in the match.
Rebels – Tries: Sefa Naivalu (2), Tom English, Dane Haylett-Petty (2), Jack Debreczeni (2). Conversion: Debreczeni (5).
Reds – Tries: Duncan Paia’aua, Chris Feauai-Sautia (2). Conversion: Jono Lance (2).
Rebels – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Subs: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Semisi Tupou, 23 Billy Meakes.
Reds – 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Adam Korczyk, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Filipo Daugunu.
Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images