Rugby Union 4 years ago

Coleman's Red Rivalry

  • Coleman's Red Rivalry

Regardless of where we or Queensland are situated in the context of our seasons, Brumbies v Reds games always have the potential to be huge, career defining occasions.

Personally, Iíve had some of the toughest matches of my career against Queensland, including my debut in 2010, our famous win at Suncorp in 2011 and last yearís first round drubbing at home.

Even at schoolboys level, our battles with Queensland were always tough. As an ACT schoolboy I was often on the wrong end of the scoreboard up against guys like Matt Toomua and James OíConnor.

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Itís no big secret that because the Reds are so competitive, we love little more than beating them in Brisbane. Donít get me wrong, each week is important and we like to put any opposition away for points. But thereís certainly an extra edge to the Queensland derbies which seems to have evolved with their current crop of players.

Since 2010 when a lot of the current Reds crew started to establish themselves in the top squad, Queensland have elevated their own personal expectations within the group and they no doubt consider themselves the benchmark of the Australian Conference.

From an outsiderís perspective, that new found confidence can often come off with an air of arrogance which hasnít always been part of the Queensland Reds persona. Itís understandable considering their 2011 title and consistency in being amongst the competitionís best teams.

But when itís constantly thrown around, that arrogance has the potential to rub opposition teams up the wrong way.

As a junior, I always imagined the Waratahs to be the Brumbies fiercest rivals and to some extent that is still true. But my perception of the Reds and how I felt about them changed on a school visit to Yass back in 2011. I was there with one of my own schoolboy heroes, Matt Giteau, when the first question came through asking which team he hated the most.

In the most diplomatic of fashions, Gits coolly replied ďitís always been NSW, but over the last year or so Iíve really started to hate the Reds and they are the team I like beating the most.Ē

Just a month later, to the heavy boos of a packed out Suncorp Stadium, Matt lifted the Rod Macqueen cup towards the Queensland members area and grinned at them.

Gits hadnít been telling the Yass students a fib, he loved every second of trophy presentation and immediately I could see that it meant just that little bit more.

On debut for the Brumbies tonight at lock is one of the oddest blokes you will ever meet, Tom Staniforth. Iíve seen Tom come through the ranks over the last two years and itís exciting to think that like me, heíll be introduced to top-flight rugby against the Reds.

Normally for a debutant youíd think heíll encounter his fair share of niggle from the opposition, but considering heís starting at lock against James Horwill and Rob Simmons itís more or less a guarantee.

Tom gives as good as he takes and Iím sure heíd be disappointed if there werenít a few barbs, elbows or late shots directed his way as a welcome to big league.

As a team, we are ready to put in an improved performance from the first round loss to the Reds, which obviously wasnít where we wanted to be.

If we can stick to our systems and continue our quality week at training then there is no reason the Brumbies canít return to Canberra for a bye week with another satisfying win, and hopefully, a few memorable moments will be created along the way.

Robbie Coleman plays wing for the ACT Brumbies and has 42 caps to his name.

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