REDS playmaker Bryce Hegarty says his team is out to land a psychological blow on the Brumbies on Saturday night ahead of a potential Super Rugby AU final between the teams.
The Brumbies have locked up top spot with one round of the regular season to go as well as a spot in the final and hosting rights to the decider.
The Reds are certain to finish second on the ladder, which will earn them a home semi-final against either the NSW Waratahs or the Melbourne Rebels.
Freshened by a weekend bye, the resurgent Reds are treating Saturday’s Suncorp Stadium battle with the Brumbies as anything but a dead rubber.
The sides’ met on August 1 at GIO Stadium, with the Brumbies kicking a penalty goal after the final to win a thrilling contest 22-20.
It’s a loss the Reds haven’t forgotten.
“They beat us by two points down in Canberra right on the buzzer, so this is an opportunity for us to play them up in Queensland where we’ve been undefeated this season,” Hegarty said.
“Psychologically and mentally there are so many aspects of football that people under-estimate.
“That’s something we’ll really focus on this weekend, and take that moving forward.
“We’re in a good position now … and hopefully we can build some momentum.”
The Reds will also have an eye on Saturday’s early game between the Rebels and the last-placed Force.
With the Waratahs having the bye this weekend, the Rebels have the chance to move ahead of them on the ladder and qualify for a semi-final against Queensland.
“They (the Rebels and the Waratahs) are quite different teams,” Hegarty said.
“Whoever we come up against we’ll be excited for and we’ll prepare for that after this weekend.”
The Reds and the Brumbies will wear special jerseys on Saturday night in honour of Queensland Rugby Union’s ninth annual indigenous round.
Hegarty, a QRU Indigenous Program ambassador, said the Reds jersey – designed by QRU Future Indigenous Leaders Program graduate Shelly – was a huge hit with team as it embraced the community and family spirit of the “Reds To Regions” project.
“The hand print on it represents family and all the dots around it represent connection and connecting to the community, connecting to your family,” he said.
“It really resonates quite well with us.
“The boys are really excited to put it (the jersey) on and wear it with heaps of pride.”
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