It wasn’t the win they were desperately seeking but interim Queensland Reds coach Nick Stiles said it was a step in the right direction.
In their first game since the sacking of coach Richard Graham, the Reds fell 25-23 but could have left AAMI Park with the competition points after threatening the Melbourne Rebels line in the dying minutes.
They trailed 16-0 midway through the first half but showed the pride and determination missing from their first two Super Rugby games to give themselves a chance.
The Reds opened the season with heavy losses to the Waratahs and Western Forces, which led to Graham’s axing, but Stiles said it was a marked improvement.
“We were extremely disappointed with our first two games,” Stiles said.
“To see the guys respond this week and the attitude they showed I felt did the state proud.
“It wasn’t a win but it was a definite move in the right direction and we want to continue to drive. It’s not good enough to be better for one week.”
Queensland host the Blues and then the Waratahs in the next two weeks and Stiles wanted their fans to give them another chance following their limp showing when last at home against the Force.
“Hopefully they could watch this game and feel a bit more proud than what they were and I know the guys are disappointed but want to move on,” he said.
One area the Reds need to improve is their discipline, with a 13-8 penalty count going against them.
Particularly in the first half they were unable to build pressure due to penalties or errors and lost centre Anthony Fainga’a to a yellow card late in the match for repeated infringements.
Queensland skipper Rob Simmons said his side weren’t satisfied with the performance.
“After what’s gone on this week I couldn’t have been prouder with their attitude to come back from 16-0,” Simmons said.
“It’s a good start but we still lost so we aren’t satisfied with that and we’ve got to be better next week.”