Will Genia faces a fitness test. Picture: AAP
Will Genia faces a fitness test. Picture: AAP

Hospitalised Genia proves he’s still No.1 in No.9

The worrying puffiness on Will Genia's cheekbone after his victorious homecoming to Suncorp Stadium was an infection rather than a facial fracture.

The Melbourne Rebels halfback received antibiotics and spent game night in a Brisbane hospital after his classy role in the 32-13 thumping of the Queensland Reds.

The increased swelling around his left cheekbone and eye as Saturday's lopsided lesson unfolded had all the hallmarks of a cheekbone fracture so the update on a pre-existing issue is a huge relief.

The magnitude of Saturday night's flop by the Reds can't be overstated.

Instead of composure in damp conditions and a third straight win to catapult the team into the hunt for top spot in the Australian Conference, Reds fans digested an ugly alternative script.


The Reds were exposed as a team with limited tricks and one which has beaten only the Brumbies and Sunwolves, two other teams destined not to make the finals.

What you'd give for a Genia figure in there marshalling the troops. Oh, that's right, the Reds found that too hard to pull off in 2017 when Nick Frisby and James Tuttle were contracted halfbacks.

There is a blunt truism in sport. If a former player completely outpoints his old club in a rollicking season elsewhere, it means you weren't good enough to get the best out of him when he was yours.

That partly applies to Quade Cooper, whose transformation at the Rebels may have been born by the very fact he reappraised, regenerated and rebooted his game when exiled to Brisbane club rugby last year.


Genia terrorised his former club. Picture: Getty
Genia terrorised his former club. Picture: Getty


The Reds had no backline cohesion, including the pressure-transferring Samu Kerevi pass to Duncan Paia'aua that was spilt and became a key Rebels try.

"For both Will and Quade, this place (the Reds) means a lot to them and at different times they've let that emotion come out which is great,' Rebels coach Dave Wessels said of the ex-Reds duo.

"The reality of professional sport is that very few players stay at the one club for their whole careers so I'm delighted they are buying into the Rebels as really popular members."

"They were instrumental in controlling that game.

"They've also been very grateful for all the support they still get from Queenslanders...those people still send messages of support through different channels."

The 2-4 Reds must regroup quickly for a Friday night clash against the Cape Town-based Stormers at Suncorp Stadium.



So what might Australia's new director of rugby Scott Johnson have seen watching his first Reds-Rebels game of Super Rugby since officially becoming a Wallabies selector?

1. Productive Rebels backrowers Luke Jones and Isi Naisarani will be playing Test rugby in July and challenging the idea that David Pocock and Michael Hooper both need to start.

2. Reds prop Taniela Tupou needs a rev-up to rediscover his 2018 form.

3. If Reds flanker Lukhan Salakaia-Loto keeps running so upright northern hemisphere packs are going to have a field day holding him up for a possession turnover as Angus Cottrell did.

4. Quade Cooper is definitely back in the frame to vie with Bernard Foley for No.10 time.

5. Will Genia, please don't get injured. Irreplaceable as Wallabies halfback for the World Cup.

6. Jack Maddocks has taken his game to the next level with the silky handling and now the thrust of a Test winger. Get more involved Sefa Naivalu and Marika Koroibete.