RUGBY UNION: After playing 10 State of Origin matches for Queensland, Karmichael Hunt knows just what it means to defeat New South Wales.
The Reds fullback says the latest local derby between the Reds and the Waratahs, at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, could just about be the most important in Super Rugby history, with both struggling at two wins and six defeats this season and on the verge of already missing out on the playoffs.
Hunt said the Reds could not afford to lose another Australian conference derby if they are to reach the Super Rugby finals.
Both the Tahs and the Reds need to make up ground on the Brumbies, who are on top of the Australian conference with a seven-point break.
"This back end of the year is going to be pretty big for us if we want to play finals," Hunt said yesterday.
"It starts against the Tahs.
"We want to get a win there and continue to roll on."
Saturday's game is Brisbane is the only time the two sides will meet in the Super Rugby competition this season, making the game even more important.
"It's a huge game," Hunt said.
"(Brad Thorn) had a good word to us in the gym when we started on Monday; he said it's time to step up and take it on if we want to play finals footy."
Ahead of games against the Melbourne Rebels (away), Western Force (home) and the Brumbies (home), Hunt said it was important for the Reds to reverse a recent form slump against the NSW outfit.
The Waratahs have won the past six encounters, with the Reds' most recent victory coming in July 2013.
"We understand that they've really bullied us over the last couple of years and we want to turn that around," he said.
Hunt said coach Nick Stiles was making everyone aware around the club just what this game means to those north of the border.
"He's hanging signs on the walls around the club - scorelines, dates in history (from) some of the great games Queensland have won, where they'd gritted it out for 80 minutes," he said.
"As you grow up and you come through the ranks in junior footy, whether it's union or league, every time you come up against NSW, the coaches put a little bit extra on it."
Hunt said the fact coach Daryl Gibson was under pressure at the Waratahs was not necessarily an advantage, especially after the dismal defeat to the Kings last Friday.
"I honestly don't think it's a good thing for us," he said.
"The result against the Kings is something they didn't want.
"They'll be looking at this game and thinking let's really get stuck in to them, let's get our season back on track."
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