Reds hopeful of Ballymore ‘bubble’

The Queensland Reds will base themselves in Sydney while awaiting permission from the state government to prepare for the Super Rugby AU grand final in a Ballymore “bubble”.

The Reds flew from Perth to NSW on Saturday following their 30-27 loss to Western Force at HBF Park on Friday night.

Due to the current lockdown in Perth because of COVID-19 cases, the Reds could not return home to Brisbane because of travel restrictions enforced by the Queensland government on people wanting to leave parts of Western Australia.

However, Queensland Rugby Union CEO David Hanham said “positive conversations” were taking place with the government to “ensure the safe return” of the Reds to Brisbane.

“First and foremost, protecting the health and safety of our staff, players and community is an absolute priority,” Hanham said.

Rather than be forced into hard quarantine on their return to Brisbane, the Reds are hoping to replicate last year’s model employed last year when the Reds squad and team staff were in home quarantine and a “bubble” at Ballymore.

Not our night in Perth.

“This is to ensure the team can continue training preparations ahead of their Super Rugby AU grand final on Saturday May 8 at Suncorp Stadium which is still going ahead as planned,” said Hanham, who added that Reds coach Brad Thorn and his team had previously adapted to any situation.

“As Brad and the team has shown before, they will continue to embrace and adapt to the challenges faced, as their focus remains on a strong preparation for the grand final,” said Hanham.

The Reds will host either the Force or the Brumbies in next month’s decider, but they will take losing form into the grand final after being beaten for the first time this season on Friday night.

“It’s a nice little uppercut isn’t it?” Thorn said.

“You often learn a bit more from a loss than a win.”

Reds captain Liam Wright, who started a match for the first time this season following a lengthy spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury, questioned his decision to not take two easy penalty shots at goal when trailing by three points in the dying stages.

Rather than level scores at 30-30 and take the game into extra-time, the Reds twice chose to pack scrums in front of the Force’s posts in trying to score what would have been a match-winning try.

“That’s something I’ve got to wear and try to learn from it, and hopefully grow from that as a captain,” Wright said.

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