With only one Super Rugby game left, Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan sees no point “beating a dead horse” after last week’s humiliation.
He just wants to topple rivals Queensland on Friday to equal last season’s record of seven wins before the painful post-mortem examination begins.
The Rebels barely had the numbers to field a side against the Crusaders, and had four players go down with injuries in the 85-26 routing in Christchurch.
While that was no reason to let through six tries in the opening half-hour, McGahan understood the situation was unusual.
“If it was a different part of the season, I think you would’ve reviewed the hell out of it and would’ve made a big thing,” he said.
“We’ve really just focused on that as an individual process to look at those areas (of improvement).
“We want to make sure we finish this weekend, hopefully with a 7-9 record, and protect some of the good work that we’ve done this year.”
Injuries have plagued McGahan all season, even up until the final week – with 11 players unavailable.
But they will have three big inclusions for Friday’s clash at Suncorp Stadium, with Wallabies flanker Sean McMahon, lock Luke Jones and Mitch Inman all back from injury.
It will be Jones’ last game for the club before heading to France on a two-year deal, while injuries have denied departing stars Mike Harris and Tamati Ellison a farewell appearance.
“For those guys not to get the opportunity to put their boots on and play has been tough,” McGahan said.
“Unfortunately, Mike and Tams have been used to that this year, which is not nice.”
McGahan has been forced to blood recruit Jack Maddocks early, naming the Australian under-20s star on the bench just two weeks after signing him for 2017 and beyond.
That’s not because he already has one eye on next year, but that he simply doesn’t have the numbers.
“I think if we had a full list, possibly you get the opportunity to look at that and look towards selection for next year,” he said.
“We possibly could’ve done that two or three games away, but we haven’t had the ability to do that. We’ve just been focusing on who’s fit, get them up and play.
“If we get our best players on the pitch … and give everyone a full pre-season and, with the young players coming through, we’ve still go the ability to do really well.”