With a five win, five loss record, the Blues badly needed a win to keep their play-off hopes alive. Win they did, but it was an uneven performance, typical of their season.
“By Jim Tucker at Suncorp Stadium
The Blues’ performance was a concise 80-minute summary of their up-and-down season.
When they switched on they were superb. When they dozed off, they were in danger of being run over by spirited yet inferior opponents.
When man-of-the-match flanker Jerome Kaino was carrying Reds lock James Horwill like a 117kg cloak as he pumped his legs powerfully to reach the tryline, the Blues were in the mood. When strong scrum pressure forced a Reds turnover and an unopposed 30m dash to the line for classy Isa Nacewa, the Blues were on song. When Troy Flavell and David Smith produced a superb tandem tackle to drive Morgan Turinui back five metres on the tryline, it was the starch of a semi-final side.
When the Blues started to drop off tackles, they became vulnerable. When prop Tony Woodcock spilt a ball out wide, which turned into a 65m run-in for Reds winger Peter Hynes, the Blues even fell behind at 22-20.
The sign that the Blues can still surge into the semifinals was the composure of the final 20 minutes because both the Kurtis Haiu and Taniela Moa tries finished off sustained raids. That and the shrewd switch of Nacewa to No 10 and Nick Evans to his old No 15 jersey because it has now produced seven tries in two games.
Nacewa was ever-dangerous playing in the faces of the opposition defence while the longstriding Evans did seem to enjoy his open spaces for counterattack.
Best and Fairest: Jerome Kaino (Blues) 3, Peter Hynes (Reds) 2, Taniela Moa (Blues) 1.”
From “Rugby News”, Issue 12 2008 p. 26.
The Blues won their last three matches but did not make it into the play-offs, despite having the same numbers of wins as the Hurricanes who did. The ‘Canes had a 13 all draw, against the Sharks, to go with their wins, enough to give them a one point margin over the Blues.