The Force forfeited a 15 point advantage to hand the rubble Reds a 29-18 victory in the dance of the desperates, their first of the Vodacom Super 14.
The only expectation surrounding the game was that it would be swamped by errors, and it unfolded as predicted.
The Reds, if possible worse than last week, fumbled their way to an 18-3 deficit after 30 minutes. The Force scored twice, with both tries coming from awful Reds errors.
Scott Staniforth’s opening score came from Elton Flatley’s fumble in the backline, and David Pusey’s second from Lloyd Johannson’s woeful clearance.
At 10 and 12, Flatley and Johansson were major contributing factors to the deficit. Both endured howlers, with Flatley’s refusal to take the ball to the line and Johannson’s poor handling ensuring any momentum built up through a domination of first-phase possession evaporated.
The Force had the legs and energy to capitalise on the avalanche of errors in the first half, but tackling for the final 50 minutes sapped what resources they had left and two late forward tries sealed the deal for the Queenslanders.
Ill-discipline continues to haunt John Mitchell’s side, and regular penalties kept the Queenslanders in range to capitalise when the Force’s energy meter read zero.
They’ll be relieved after the victory, but they shouldn’t be. All 80 minutes of embarassment at Suncorp stadium confirmed that the Force’s only opportunity for victory will lie in their meeting with the Cats.
They are limited, and with their few big name signings like Matt Henjak and Scott Fava not firing, wouldn’t threaten anyone other than the Frans Ludicrous Catastrophe.
Tries: John Roe, Tom McVerry and Stephen Moore
Con: Elton Flatley
Pens: Flatley 2 and Julian Huxley 2
** Sinbin: James Horwill (22 mins)
Tries: Scott Staniforth and David Pusey
Con: Cameron Shepherd
Pens: Shepherd 2
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTER
80 mins: Another messy affair as Reds hooker Stephen Moore bashes it over from close up. Force out on their feet. Huxley misses again. (Huxley 2/4)
76 mins: Game over as the Reds score after a good drive from a 5m lineout. Tom McVerry touches down, but Huxley misses the conversion. (Huxley 2/3)
70 mins: Force starved of the ball continue to concede penalties regularly. The Reds finally have the lead back. Huxley hits his second. (Huxley 2/2)
60 mins: Ruck is formed within Force’s 22, and the Force go off their feet at the ruck despite the ref’s warning. Bang in front, and Julian Huxley takes the points. (Huxley 1/1)
48 mins: Rodzilla screws it up royally, charging into a ruck and taking Brendan Cannon out. Should have been three to the Force, but Shepherd hits the upright. Bad miss. (Shepherd 3/5)
46 mins: Flatley pulls back another three early in the second 40. (Flatley 3/4)
38 mins: Soft try conceded by the Force, and it’s a crucial one for the Reds. 5m scrum, No 8 John Roe dummies and snipes. Terrible defence. Flatley converts. (Flatley 2/3)
30 mins: Shepherd has another shot as the rubble Reds continue to dig themselves one serious hole. Three more to the Force. (Shepherd 3/4)
26 mins: Rubble reds having a collective shocker. Lloyd Johansson’s terrible clearance allows the Force to keep coming. It’s just basic, error free rugby from the Force and David Pusey is over in the corner. Shepherd converts. (Shepherd 2/3)
22 mins: Reds lock James Horwill makes a shocking high hit, conceding the penalty and receives a yellow card as a result. Shepherd takes the points. (Shepherd 1/2)
8 mins: Completely against the run of play, untidy Reds ball is hacked ahead by Cameron Shepherd after Elton Flatley can’t control. Shepherd gathers and finds Scott Staniforth on his outside. Try time Force, and Shepherd misses the easy conversion. (Shepherd 0/1)
5 mins: Turnovers mounting against the Force, and they concede another penalty. Again not an easy kick, but this time Flatley shaves the right hand upright. (Flatley 1/2)
2 mins: Force concede two penalties in the opening minute, the second is kickable but tough. Flatley nails it. (Flatley 1/1)