The Queensland Reds had a superb 2010 Super 14 where they finished fifth on the log, but more importantly they beat the Brumbies and the Force on the log. The Reds are finally the strong rugby unit they were in the early nineties.
Recently though, Queensland and the Reds in general have been in the news not for rugby reasons. The worst floods in 118 years hit their region, and with a stadium that looked like a swimming pool, the players got involved in raising money and awareness for the people who lost everything in the floods.
On the rugby front though, their coach is asking them for an even better year, and they will be pushing hard to reach the play offs. Their biggest rivals will be the Waratahs and almost certainly the Brumbies. Ewen McKenzie, who took them from second last in 2009 to fifth in 2010, beat both finalists the Stormers and the Bulls.
The most influential player from 2010 was captain Will Genia, and he himself will be looking for a bigger and better 2011. He will share the captain’s armband with James Horwill, who has been appointed official captain of the team for the 2011 Super Rugby season.
The player who will be most influential this season is most certainly Quade Cooper, who has showed that he can turn any game on its head. Cooper, along with Genia, form a partnership that will most certainly run out for the Wallabies in the World Cup, and is right up there with the best half back pairings in the competition.
My prediction for the Reds is that they will fight it out with the Brumbies as the second best team in Australia, and should they repeat their form against the SA and NZ teams as they did last year, they will be right up there come the play offs.
Fantasy League players to note: Everybody already knows the impact Will Genia and Quade Cooper will have, but watch out for winger Digby Ioane, front ranker James Slipper and the youngster Rob Simmons.
The Reds 2011 Super Rugby Squad: