REDS pair Nick Frisby and Andrew Ready were to be axed even before their ill-timed night out drinking turned the call into a slam dunk from coach Nick Stiles.
Both have been jettisoned from Saturday night's clash against the Brumbies in Canberra and shipped off to club rugby for a sobering reality check.
The duo suffered the ignominy of not training with the Reds this week after Stiles made it clear they had tripped up several times on standards expected for preparation and team culture.
Stiles promised changes last Saturday night when naming both halfback Frisby and hooker Ready during his slating of the non-performing bench in the loss to the Hurricanes.
The pair were no-shows at an optional stretching and ice bath session at Ballymore the following day when many senior players stayed on to watch Queensland in the under-20s final.
Only later did Stiles discover the pair had gone out drinking after the Reds' loss and had organised it via the WhatsApp text message group used to relay rugby information to the team.
"It's a kick up the backside because this has been a club that has let little things go unchecked, but no longer," Stiles said.
"We are changing the culture.
"This isn't about a few beers on a game night but little shortcuts in preparation over a period of time when we need to all have an uncompromising attitude to winning Super Rugby games.
"I flagged after the game I was disappointed with the bench but it's been a couple of weeks where preparation hasn't been spot on for Andrew and Fris."
Halfback Frisby's fall from grace is the most dramatic in Australian rugby.
In four months, he has gone from being a Wallaby replacement at Twickenham to lining up for GPS against University at St Lucia while two other halfbacks play for the Reds.
"I'm hoping Fris gets some fun and enjoyment back in his head," Stiles said.
"It was a big year physically and mentally (in 2016) and Nick has probably come back from that Wallaby tour a little drained and that has transferred into his prep and performance.
"He and Andrew are going back to club footy, I want to see a response and hopefully long-term this setback is a blessing in disguise."
Former Brisbane Bronco Lachie Maranta will step into his first run-on role in Canberra at fullback after Karmichael Hunt's concussion against the Hurricanes.
"Karmichael was a bit headachy so he's having the week off," Stiles said.
"Lachie brings strong talk, safety under the high ball and comfort in an intense environment like Canberra, plus the value of having three or four club hitouts to get to know the game again."
Livewire Moses Sorovi comes in as reserve halfback while Alex Mafi is the new back-up hooker.
REDS: Lachie Maranta, Chris Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia'aua, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, James Tuttle, Scott Higginbotham, George Smith, Adam Korczyk, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, Sam Talakai, Stephen Moore (c), Sef Fa'agase. Res: Alex Mafi, Kirwan Sanday, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Hendrik Tui, Moses Sorovi, Hamish Stewart, Izaia Perese.
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