Can fans step up to keep Kerevi in Red?
ONLY a miracle backflip to rival Wallaby greats Chris Latham and Will Genia can now prevent Queensland skipper Samu Kerevi from heading to Japan next season.
Kerevi branded his stay-or-go call on the Reds as "one of the toughest decisions" of his life on Thursday yet cryptically said the final call is not up to him.
Sidestepping a firm announcement means that fans heading to Suncorp Stadium Friday night for the match against the Blues will not know whether to swamp him with farewell roars or not.
Make sure you do.
The 25-Test Wallaby has signed to play for Suntory in Japan next year and it seems to have been inked before new Rugby Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson was in the chair.
It's a disaster for the Reds who have relied on Kerevi as their No. 1 weapon for gaining ground (1337m), tackles busts (58), linebreaks (15), linebreak assists (13), try assists (6) and offloads (22).
The popular Kerevi Thursday wanted to make it all about chasing a win in the Reds' final home game and what close mate and carpenter Scott Malolua could build from halfback.
All eyes should be on Kerevi, a riveting midfield duel with All Blacks legend Ma'a Nonu and celebrating his superb contribution of six seasons.
When asked bluntly whether he was torn over his 2020 plans, Kerevi was more open.
"Yeah, it's probably one of the hardest decisions I've had to look at in terms of my whole life," Kerevi said.
"Queensland has been a massive part of my life, my family's life.
"I'm just really excited about this game … every time I pull on my jersey I play like its my last so it's not going to be any different."
Gutted fans and sponsors may need to take the protest into their own hands as they did in 2003 when XXXX Hill at Ballymore was renamed the ``Don't Go Latho Hill'' when talisman Latham agreed to a deal with Irish club Munster.
Latham was overwhelmed by the fuss to keep him and brushed the angry Irish.
In 2012, halfback Genia accepted a deal to switch to the Western Force only to have a rare victory over the Blues in Auckland convince him that he couldn't leave that pride and vibe.
"All the stuff will come out in due time … it's not up to me," Kerevi said.
Whether that means RA were late to the party or offered less than his worth or he is too honourable to back-pedal on Suntory, it's hard to decipher.
It's very unlike the Reds to ever produce a win when desperately needed but it would help the "Keep Kerevi" cause to beat a Kiwi side for the first time since 2016.
Whether Queensland sun or sushi wins out, Kerevi is excited about playing against Nonu, now 37 but still a dreadlocked menace.
"He's been the standard for many years and why I got busy growing my game in kicking, passing and seeing different opportunities on the field like he did," Kerevi said.
"Ma'a is someone I have always looked up to and this is a date I looked for on the calendar."
REDS v BLUES
Suncorp Stadium, Friday, 7.45pm
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (NZ)
REDS: Bryce Hegarty, Jock Campbell, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi (c), Filipo Daugunu, Matt McGahan, Scott Malolua, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Angus Blyth, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, JP Smith. Reserves: Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Ruan Smith, Gav Luka, Harry Hockings, Adam Korczyk, Moses Sorovi, Duncan Paia'aua, Hamish Stewart
BLUES: Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, TJ Faiane, Ma'a Nonu, Tanielu Tele'a, Otere Black, Augustine Pulu, Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson (c), Dalton Papalii, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman. Reserves: Reserves: Leni Apisai, Marcel Renata, Lua Li, Tom Robinson, Josh Goodhue, Jonathan Ruru, Harry Plummer, Levi Aumua
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