Queensland co-captain Liam Wright admits the Reds have been unsuccessful in ticking all their pre-season boxes by failing to take winning form into their Super Rugby Pacific opener against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday night.
Back-to-back trial losses to Western Force and the New South Wales, on top of a pre-season affected by Covid-19, has perhaps left the Reds vulnerable but definitely determined ahead of their battle with the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium.
“We did say we wanted to get into winning habits with those trial games so it was disappointing in that regard,” Wright said.
“But we look at the pre-season as a whole. It’s been about 20-odd weeks of grind and getting ready for the season coming.
“While we didn’t quite get in done (in the trials), we know that the job really starts now.
“We’ve had 20 weeks of setting up, of getting stronger, faster and tighter as a group and we really think that’ll show this weekend at Suncorp (Stadium) playing in front of our fans and our people with that ‘Q’ on our chest.
“We set a good foundation and it’s now time for us players to act on it.”
Co-captain Tate McDermott and fellow Wallaby Hunter Paisami returned to training on Monday after missing the Reds’ 21-14 weekend loss to the Waratahs in Roma following last week’s positive Covid-19 tests.
“They got their negative (results) on Sunday which was unfortunately just enough to miss last trial,” Wright said.
“(Since) they’ve come back into training they haven’t been too haggled by Covid, They’re fit and strong, and when the team gets named, hopefully they’ll be strong parts of that.”
Wright said that if there was a right time for Covid-19 to have hit the Reds, pre-season was that period.
“For the most part with our squad, it’s gone through us, probably at a fairly decent time over Christmas and that first week back from the Christmas holidays,” he said.
“It’s not the worst position to be in. We’d much rather it than than coming into round one.
“We should be all set, No-one’s (had) Covid this week so far.”
Wright said the pride in the Queensland jersey was as strong as ever under coach Brad Thorn.
“This team is big on Queensland, and we take a lot of pride in representing Queensland’s people and jersey, and rugby as a whole in this state,” he said following Tuesday’s turning of the sod at Ballymore’s $20 million National Rugby Training Center and new McLean Stand development.
“This day’s really special to see things going forward with a new facility. It’s a huge step for us.”