Tate the spark Reds need this Sunday
TATE McDermott is the spark who can fix the Reds' slow start syndrome when it's needed most to beat the Brumbies on Sunday afternoon.
The change at halfback was made on Thursday for the crunch clash at Suncorp Stadium.
McDermott's quick-tap nous and willingness to make a fast dart into the biggest opposition forwards to get his own pack rolling forward is just what the Reds need.
Regular starter Moses Sorovi had excellent periods against the Highlanders in the opening round but McDermott outplayed him in three matches and two trials from the bench.
It's "Tate Time" and the stats stack up.
The Reds have made slow starts in all four games, including the 0-10 opening against the Crusaders and idling to 12-21 against the Waratahs.
The Reds scored four tries, including McDermott's own, when he was on the field for the final 30 minutes of last Saturday's rousing rally to beat the Sunwolves 34-31.
The Reds outscored the Crusaders 5-0 when he was on and it was a try apiece after he came off the bench against the Waratahs.
McDermott, 20, starts with the Reds running their fourth different halves pairing in five matches on Sunday.
That's no way to build cohesion but this is a side still trying to find its ideal rudder.
As promising as Isaac Lucas's game at flyhalf was against the Sunwolves, the Reds always saw Bryce Hegarty's absence as a calculated week off to rest bad ribs before returning.
A McDermott-Hegarty halves pairing will work off a beefed up pack with Wallabies duo Taniela Tupou and Izack Rodda, from the bench, returning.
Tupou started the season with some extra kilograms around the midriff.
Boxing sessions and extra fitness work have eaten into the 2kg he wants to lose to get back to his explosive best.
It was against the Brumbies on their round two visit to Suncorp Stadium last season that he took the quantum leap to dismembering opposition scrums.
Former Reds skipper James Slipper will be returning to Suncorp Stadium for the first time as a Brumbies prop after his off-season split from the club he play with for 104 games.
"We know the Reds love to attack the set piece and our forwards are well aware of that," Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano said.
The other big Reds change is dropping centre Duncan Paia'aua to include Chris Feauai-Sautia at outside centre.
Queensland Reds v Brumbies - Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Sunday March 24, 2.50pm (ASET)