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McKenzie relying on Cooper to deliver perfect game

The Reds will need Quade Cooper to be in top form against the Waratahs

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Article Published: Monday 9 July 2012|

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is relying on Wallabies star playmaker Quade Cooper to deliver the Queenslanders perfect game against the Waratahs.

The seventh placed Reds sit on 53 points behind the Crusaders (56), Sharks (54) and Bulls (54) in the race for the wild card places and need to beat the Waratahs to stay in contention.

The Reds who are on a five match winning streak will have to do their best against the Waratahs and then sit back and wait for other results to go their way.

"What we need is the perfect game this weekend to ensure we get the best ladder position possible," McKenzie told Sportal when asked what was required against the Waratahs.

"One thing I can guarantee is we haven't played the perfect game yet, so it's still ahead of us - I say that to the players a lot."

McKenzie said that the perfect game for the Reds involves a solid start, intent at the breakdown, concise ball control, staunch defence and, ultimately, at least four tries.

Cooper has only played two full matches since he returned from a knee reconstruction and has shown that his running game and his ball playing skills had not disappeared in the Reds recent wins over the Brumbies and Highlanders.

"It's good circumstances for (Cooper) in the context that it's a very specific game plan we need to implement to get the business done," McKenzie said.

"Quade loves the responsibility of executing the game-plan."

"He's been one of the best I've been involved with in terms of taking a plan and delivering it on the field."

Cooper spent eight months out of rugby and has returned looking a little more solid and has improved his defence so much that he conceded a penalty for an agressive play against the Highlanders.

The Highlanders tried too hard to play for the bonus point before the win against the Reds and McKenzie said that won't let his men fall into that same trap.

"You have to go out and try to execute your best football first and as a by-product you'll score four tries, you might score eight, but to actually start with the four tries and work back from that usually ends in tears," he said.

"We need the guys to have the freedom of mind and expression to play their normal game and to see opportunities and take them."

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