Graham not shaken by Gill injury blow

Date published: February 25 2016

Reds Head Coach Richard Graham had a sensible response when asked about stalwart Liam Gill’s injury blow.

Gill sustained a back fracture that will keep him out of action for four weeks, but the Reds boss had a realistic approach to the setback.

“It’s never ideal, losing good footballers but it’s the way it’s been dealt and you’ve just got to move on,” Graham told the ARU website.

“Once we knew we’d lost Liam we just moved forward and prepared for the side to take the field this weekend.

Although an unlikely injury to encounter on a rugby field, Graham found comfort in the fact that Gill won't be sidelined for too long.

“It’s something probably more related to a fast bowler than a number seven but it’s just the nature of it,” he said.

“The good thing is it’s relatively short term and hopefully keep him out for only about four weeks.

Curtis Browning is set to provide injury cover for Gill in the back row, and Graham believes the 22-year-old can contribute greatly to the side's physicality.

“I just like his (physicality) in the close channels,” Graham added.

“The one thing you know from the Waratahs is there’s a physical threat from their forwards and I think Curtis in front-on defence is outstanding so that’ s a big part of it (selecting him).

“He’s come a long way.

“He’s a footballer, if you look at him train, you look at him play, you can see that.

“There are certain elements he’s still learning but the good thing is he’s out on the field everyday doing that.”

In the backline Karmichael Hunt will start at full-back ahead of Japanese recruit Ayumu Goromaru and Graham is pleased that, unlike last season, his side aren't lacking depth at the last line.

“The good thing is we’ve got two guys to compete for that 15 position and that’s a better space than we were in this time last season but for me it’s just trying to get the balance right,” he explained.

“Karmichael’s trained with us the whole pre-season, the boys have a lot of confidence with him playing in behind, he deserves the opportunity to play.”

Reds team to face Waratahs:

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Curtis Browning, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons (c), 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Ben Daley   
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ayumu Goromaru