Gordon the hat-trick hero as Waratahs trounce Reds
August 09 2020 12:13 AM
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Joey Walton
Joey Walton (left) of the NSW Waratahs is tackled by James O’Connor from the Queensland Reds during the Super Rugby match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) yesterday. (AFP)

AFP/Sydney

Jake Gordon bagged a hat-trick as a Michael Hooper-led NSW Waratahs smashed the shellshocked Queensland Reds 45-12 yesterday to reignite their Super Rugby AU season.
Wallabies skipper Hooper stood down as the ‘Tahs captain for 2020, but with his replacement Rob Simmons out injured he was back in charge and marshalled the team to their best showing this year.
They were untouchable in an electric first-half at the Sydney Cricket Ground, exposing a fragile defence to go to the break 38-0 ahead after a five-try rampage.
Three went to scrum-half Gordon, with Jack Maddocks and Alex Newsome also crossing before Tom Horton added another in a wet second stanza.
It was their second win from five in the domestic tournament and moved them into third on the ladder alongside the Reds, three points behind the Melbourne Rebels and seven adrift of the ACT Brumbies.
“Very happy with that. We got off to a hot start and kept the foot on the throat. The set-piece was good, our ball movement was good, so really pleased,” said Hooper.
“Our defence has improved out of sight in the past couple of weeks. It was a full squad effort to get that result.”
The Reds picked up a 32-26 win against the Waratahs when they met in the opening round, snapping an 11-game losing streak against them in the process.
And on a chilly night, the Waratahs were out for revenge.
“Credit to NSW, they came out all guns blazing. We didn’t come out with that energy and intensity that we promised and you can’t chase down that many points,” said Reds captain Liam Wright. 
“They probably wanted it more, to be honest.”
The Waratahs exerted early pressure and got on the scoreboard first when Will Harrison booted a penalty.
They kept up their intensity and were rewarded with a quality try from Gordon, who finished off a 50m move down the wing that involved James Ramm and Karmichael Hunt.
And Gordon grabbed a second not long after, catching the Reds napping with a quick tap-penalty in front of the posts to leave them reeling, with Harrison converting both tries. 
It was one-way traffic and Maddocks exposed the Reds again when Jack Dempsey broke a tackle and offloaded to the fullback, before Gordon snared his first-ever hat-trick after another flowing move.
The Reds were down 31-0 inside 30 minutes, and the ‘Tahs grabbed a fifth try before the half-time hooter, with an acrobatic diving finish in the corner by Newsome culminating a nine-pass cross-field play.
Rain began falling and caused a slew of handling errors in a messy second period before Horton added their sixth try from a driving maul.
The Reds finally ended their drought after 53 painful minutes with Jack Hardy dotting down before James O’Connor collected another try in the dying seconds.




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