QUEENSLAND enforcer Lukhan Salakaia-Loto says the Reds have a score to settle with the ACT Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Salakaia-Loto is still angry about the Brumbies’ last-gasp 22-20 win over the Reds in Canberra last month, and is out for revenge.
“It’s a massive grudge match for us this week,” the 23-year-old lock said.
When asked if it was a case of “no love lost” between the teams, Salakaia-Loto said: “I don’t know if there’s much love there in the first place … we’re ready to rip in.”
The Reds led 20-19 deep into their last meeting with the Brumbies only for the hosts to win the game thanks to a Mack Hansen penalty kick after the siren following a Fraser McReight infringement.
“It was a pretty gut-wrenching way to go out and lose the game,” Salakaia-Loto said.
“I’m sure we can get one back up on them this week.”
Rubbing salt into Salakaia-Loto’s wounds that night at GIO Stadium was that he had been penalised earlier in the match for an alleged high shot on Brumbies winger Tom Wright that led to the Reds having a try to winger Jordan Petaia disallowed.
“I hit him too hard or something,” the Wallabies forward said.
Salakaia-Loto has also stored in his memory bank the Brumbies’ liking for some on-field talk, particularly props Allan Alaalatoa and Scott Sio, and hooker Folau Fainga’a.
“I’ll have to wait until the second half when he (Sio) comes off the bench behind ‘Slips’ (former Reds front-rower James Sipper) to hear a bit of the chat,” he said in subtle dig at Sio.
However, Salakaia-Loto admitted the Brumbies had backed up their words with performances that had already secured them first spot on the Super Rugby AU ladder and grand final hosting rights.
“They’ve done it so far, they’re sitting up the top of the ladder, so they’re obviously doing something right … but they’re coming up here now. It’s good that we’re back home in front of our fans,” he said.
Regardless of Saturday night’s result, the Reds can’t be dislodged from second spot and will host a semi-final the following weekend against either the NSW Waratahs or the Melbourne Rebels for a spot in the decider in Canberra.
“We’re not looking past this week. We’ve got to focus on us and really work hard to get a result this week,” Salakaia-Loto said.
“We’re no longer a team of potential. We’re doing what we say we’re going to do.”