Youthful Reds give fans a reason to fire up
ROOKIE flanker Angus Scott-Young was just 14 when he was swept along to Suncorp Stadium in 2011 to savour the sellout night that took the Reds to the summit of Super Rugby.
That snapshot tells two striking stories as the Reds strive to prove their character-filled 18-10 upset of the ACT Brumbies last Friday night is not a one-off.
Four seasons of dire results had so numbed even diehard supporters that only 11,034 fans showed up to savour the victory at their home ground.
Stay-at-home fans wanted something, anything, to latch onto before they committed to a ticket.
Well, coach Brad Thorn has given them something.
Queensland rugby's youth transfusion and fighting traits are exciting and not just talk anymore.
Take your pick of Liam Wright's clever one-handed off-load, prop Taniela Tupou mangling the Brumbies scrum, lock Izack Rodda banging bodies all night after he looked spent or 2.06m stripling Harry Hockings running on for 14 minutes.
All are 21 or younger.
Thorn is unsurprised by the talent he is backing: "I don't train them like kids."
Success ignites both fans and youngsters because Scott-Young, 20, admits the magic of that 2011 title year spurred him to push harder as a schoolboy to get his hands on a Reds jersey.
The huge challenge is for the Reds to now sustain the rage with a win over the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night to coax more fans back.
"When they (Scott-Young and Hockings) came off the bench they didn't look out of place at all and even lifted things a notch," captain James Slipper said.
"The young guys wore their hearts on their sleeve and I think that's the special bit from the win."
In the dressing room, former Queensland stalwart Sam Scott-Young was given the honour of presenting his son with his Reds' honour cap.
"Dad giving me my first cap was a great moment," Scott-Young said.
"I was still at school when I came here to see the Reds beat the Crusaders in that 2011 final.
"I got serious with my rugby since then and always wanted to be part of the Reds family. I'm finally part of it."
Add Wright: "It was an amazing feeling to win and we want to repeat it as many times as possible."
Thorn knows his young forwards must keep up the physicality against the Bulls who are a far more difficult opponent with former All Black coach John Mitchell at the helm.
Thorn's exasperation at the Caleb Timu shoulder-tackle yellow card won't prompt any lecture on extra discipline, nor should it, because it was a farcical referee's call.
"It's pretty stringent, I know they're doing their best ... (but) it's a contact sport. Let us enjoy some contact," Thorn said.