Quade Cooper was left flat on his back on the turf of Ballymore in the Reds shock 18-13 loss to the Melbourne Rebels. In all honesty I always expected to see Cooper laid out before the Super Rugby season commenced. But I figured it would be on the canvas in the ring, not the hallowed greenery of Ballymore.
Firstly, this is the third time I've tried to publish this story. The internet has become my enemy. Or this wretched computer, I'm not sure which. Either way I'm filled with a seething rage that has left me incapable of seeing straight.
Secondly, cudos to the Melbourne Rebels. Since their inception they haven't won a single pre-season match. In 2014 they've rolled us, the Waratahs and the Hurricanes: a clean sweep. No easy feet at all. If they can keep up this monstrous form they may just be the dark horses of the competition this year.
Thirdly, the power's that be have announced that Cooper hasn't suffered a serious neck injury, but give him an iffy at best chance to take the field against the Brumbies on Saturday the 22nd.
Despite the obvious negatives of the loss and Cooper being floored, I can take several positives out of this and the Reds win over the Chiefs. Aidan Toua is and will forever be a revelation at fullback. He's got more speed behind him than one of Tony Mokbel's "special cook ups". Genia, Cooper, Turner, Horwill and Faingaa are all in prime form, if they can keep generally fit and healthy for the majority of the season I think the Reds are real contenders this year.
What positives or negatives have you seen in the trial games?