Queensland Reds to host Moana Pasifika

Suliasi Vunivalu will get plenty of ball from his Reds teammates this week. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Suliasi Vunivalu will get loads of ball from his Reds teammates this week. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

The Queensland Reds intend to feed “strike weapon” Suliasi Vunivalu as a lot ball as doable in a bid to snap a four-game Super Rugby Pacific shedding streak by beating Moana Pasifika at Suncorp Stadium on Friday evening.

Despite having already certified for the top-eight finals collection the Reds are in free fall and are determined to rediscover their early season kind that lifted them to seven wins from eight matches earlier than their miserable run of defeats.

Vunivalu looms because the spark to a much-needed kind revival heading into subsequent month’s playoffs.

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The highly effective and busy efficiency of the previous Melbourne Storm NRL star within the Reds’ 53-26 last-start loss to the Blues was one in every of Queensland’s few shiny spots on a forgettable evening at Eden Park.

“When he gets the ball in his hands, there’s no-one like him,” Reds skipper Tate McDermott stated.

“For us … it’s all about just getting him early ball, (and) getting him as many touches as possible.

“He came off his wing looking for work which is something we were really pleased about.

“He’s a strike weapon, and hopefully there’s a dry track this weekend so we can really showcase more of what we did at Eden Park.”

Suliasi Vunivalu will get plenty of ball against Moana Pasifika. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty Images
Suliasi Vunivalu will get loads of ball towards Moana Pasifika. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty Images

However, whatever the impression Vunivalu has in assault, it threatens to rely for little until the Reds repair the defence issues that value them dearly towards the Blues.

“The focus is all about defence. We haven’t defended that poorly for a while,” McDermott stated.

“That’s something that we’ve built our game around in the past, our defence.

“Those one-on-one tackles, we missed 32 (against the Blues), so we’ve got to make sure, particularly against a team like Moana, that we’re not missing our tackles, otherwise it’s going to be a similar story out there.”

The Reds will welcome again key back-row pair Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson, with Angus Scott-Young and Connor Vest dropping again to the bench.

In different modifications to Queensland’s beginning staff, Hamish Stewart replaces the injured Hunter Paisami (shoulder) within the centres, hooker Matt Faessler takes the spot of the sidelined Albert Anae (tricep), and loosehead prop Harry Hoopert is recalled on the expense of Dane Zander.

The Reds bench consists of the returning Richie Asiata however not lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, who has been dropped from the 23-man squad.

Reds: Harry Hoopert, Matt Faessler, Feao Fotuaika, Ryan Smith, Angus Blyth, Seru Uru, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (c), James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia, Hamish Stewart, Josh Flook, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell. Bench: Richie Asiata, Dane Zander, Sef Fa’agase, Connor Vest, Angus Scott-Young, Kalani Thomas, Lawson Creighton, Filipo Daugunu.

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