A first-half blitz secured the Hurricanes a 37-28 win in Brisbane as well as a spot in the play-offs.
The four-try bonus was secured as early as the 32nd minute with superb support running and offloading the Canes’ most prominent features. They played fast and loose, an approach that saw them concede two tries in the first half, but it was an approach that proved devastating given the Reds’ weak defence.
The half-time score read 24-14 but the Reds were hardly that good. Had the Canes played tighter they would’ve shut out the Brisbane Boys, but you could see Colin Cooper had encouraged his charges to have a go.
Ma’a Nonu rounded off two expansive moves characterised by smart-stepping and clever handling, and Piri weepu danced a jig after crashing over for his score. Corey Jane scythed through after the Reds’ tacklers missed the umpteenth tackle.
The second stanza was a different story as the Canes’, having bagged the bonus-point, relaxed at the breakdown while the Reds conversely upped the tempo. The hosts did concede a try right after the break, but proceeded to score two more of their own through Mark McLinden and Brando Va’alu.
Suddenly the Canes needed to change tack, a fact confirmed by Willie Ripia’s kicking for poles on the hour instead of kicking for touch. They managed to keep the spirited Reds at arm’s length, but you could see they had already switched off mentally. Had the opposition been stonger, this would have cost them dearly.
By Jon Cardinelli