Add Campbell Magnay‘s name to the list of supporters for rugby’s push for a State of the Union series.
He might be a Melbourne Rebel now, but the Queenslander rates “smashing NSW” among his favourite things to do.
The 23-year-old knows he has to move away from those natural instincts when he returns home to Queensland for Saturday’s crunch clash with the Reds.
But they are sentiments that are never too far from the surface, and if the state versus state concept materialised, the wannabe Wallaby would be front and centre.
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“Being a Queenslander, you watch those Queensland versus New South Wales games and you just want them to smash NSW,” Magnay said on Friday.
“But while I’m a Queenslander, I want to give it back to the Queenslanders (this week) and perform well in front of my family and friends.
“Hopefully, most of them will be there live. I’m looking forward to it.”
Magnay maintains strong links to the Sunshine State and even started his Super Rugby career with the Reds.
But, out of contract at season’s end, he’s in talks for 2021 and wants to stay in Melbourne, a club where he has settled and one that is trying to turn itself into the superior Australian outfit.
Victory over the Reds would propel Melbourne to the top of the Super Rugby AU table and be a fourth win on the road in a row for the Rebels, which would be a club first.
The magnitude of the match is not lost on Magnay or his teammates.
“We need to beat the best teams away, and this week is the perfect opportunity to go top of the table here, so it’s a must-win,” he said.
Reds coach Brad Thorn has promoted halfback Tate McDermott into the starting side after last week’s poor showing against the Waratahs, and Test back Jordan Petaia returns after missing last week‘s loss following the shock death of his father.
Rebels coach Dave Wessels said their additions gave the Reds a shorter than normal backrow, which Melbourne could exploit.
“I think that the backrow gives them some threats in the contact area, but where it takes away from them is in the lineout having a shorter back-row and that’s an area they’re struggling a little bit, and we’d like to put some pressure on them around lineout time,” Wessels said.
“Again, I think the way that we play can cause teams a lot of trouble and has done so consistently for a while, and what we have to do is we have to be the best version of ourselves.”