Emails from ex-players have already inundated Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham.
Not that he has to be reminded of the importance of Saturday night’s home Super Rugby clash with defending champions NSW Waratahs.
Graham said former players had not wasted time telling him how vital it was to take down their old enemy at Suncorp Stadium, but the words of Reds great Stan Pilecki a year ago were still ringing in his ears.
Pilecki’s leaked scathing assessment of his former team after a disappointing loss to the Western Force – which he said made him “embarrassed and disgusted” – still resonated.
“I think Stan, that one he sent me last year, carries over for 12 months,” Graham said.
“(But) I have already received a dozen emails from former players who understand the intensity in the rivalry which dates back 100 years.
“It may be one game but it means an enormous amount.”
Reds skipper James Slipper said it was crucial that they bounced back from their last round 20-13 loss to the Highlanders, rather than focus on knocking over NSW which delivered Queensland two hidings last season.
“That’s three games done and dusted and we’ve only got the one win to show for it,” he said of their season start.
Slipper was encouraged by James O’Connor’s Reds debut at flyhalf after the ex-Wallaby chanced his arm with the ball in hand but was guilty of some questionable kick options.
However, Slipper lamented Queensland’s lack of enterprise in attack without the injured Quade Cooper (shoulder) and sidelined recruit Karmichael Hunt (cocaine charges).
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t back ourselves to push the pass,” he said.
“In some cases, we didn’t push the pass which led to a missed opportunity.
“I said we wanted to have a good start to the season and it hasn’t panned out that way.
“But we’re confident going into a Suncorp Stadium full of Reds supporters that we can come out with a win.”