Entertaining Reds to be 'innovative'
Richard Graham is determined to see the Reds return to the innovative and entertaining game that saw them win a Super Rugby title in 2011.
Reds coach Richard Graham is determined to see his team return to the innovative and entertaining game that saw them win their one-and-only Super Rugby title in 2011.
With the first part of their pre-season completed and heading into the Christmas break, Graham said he was "really pleased" with the team's progress and looking forward to the 2014 season.
The team began training in October and all the coaching staff have been working hard to develop the different facets of the Reds game.
"We've been working on both the attack and defensive aspects of our game while also trying to develop the technical components of our set piece," said Graham.
"Nick Stiles has been working really hard with the forwards and I'm really pleased with the scrum and line-out.
"Steve Meehan has continued to work hard with our attack and evolve the style of game we want to play.
"The Reds have been known as innovators and entertainers and I'm sure you'll see that continue."
The Reds will play two pre-season trial games - taking on the Chiefs in Toowoomba on February 8, and the Rebels at Ballymore on February 14.
"We've set the trail games up next year to give us a good run into Super Rugby," said Graham.
"The game against the chiefs on February 8 will be a fantastic start for us and we'll be well prepared for what is sure to be a fast paced and physical encounter.
"The week after, we return to Ballymore to take on the Rebels and the match provides the players with a great opportunity to play at the spiritual home of Rugby but will also give fans a taste of what they can expect in 2014."
While the Reds squad saw some change after the 2013 season, Graham has been impressed by the new players he has brought in for 2014.
"Whilst a number of players have left the organisation, the likes of Lachie Turner, JJ Taulagi, Kris Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi have filled that void really well," he said.
The Reds have lost the services of players like Adam Wallace-Harrison (retired), Jarrad Butler (moved to the Brumbies), Radike Samo (to Japan), Jono Lance (to Waratahs), Digby Ioane (to Stade Français) and Luke Morahan (to the Western Force).
Their most notable acquisitions are Lachlan Turner (from the Waratahs) and Jamie-Jerry Taulagi (from University of Queensland).
"I've been really pleased with Lachie Turner's application since he arrived three months ago, he has gelled in with the group really well and has delivered all the class we have come to expect from him," the coach said.
"It's also great to see Dave McDuling back in full training after suffering two season ending knee injuries, he is training really well and with a lot of confidence.
"Another new addition to the Reds for 2014, has been the introduction of the wider training squad, which has seen a number of Queensland's rising young talents invited to join the Reds pre-season training, exposing them to the professional environment.
"The 14 young players we have included in our wider training squad have added a lot in terms of competition to the team, and it's great to see them learn and develop physically & mentality," added Graham.
"These young guys will eventually play for Queensland so it's important to get them into this professional environment as early as we can."