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Hall-West combination key for Blues

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Lynn McConnell     16 Mar 2016     Getty Images

Hall said not a lot of the Blues players had been to Suncorp Stadium, which was always a tough venue, whether because of the home fans, the different temperature or the humidity. That made the trip tough no matter the Reds' winless record so far this year.

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The Reds had been through some turmoil and there was only two ways it could go for them but he imagined the group would be much tighter and hurting after having gone so close against the Rebels last weekend and they would be determined to get a win.

"They'll be desperate just like the Hurricanes were," he said.

The last thing the Blues could afford to do was think it was a case of just turning up to claim the win.

"Our mindset here is to get ourselves right on the pitch, we've got a lot of training days to work on and hopefully we'll get the result over there," he said.

But much of that hope will be determined by his combination with West. There were signs in the opening round against the Highlanders that both were ready to apply the experience they have each gained to put their best touches into effect.

They are well familiar with each other's play and given the right platform they had the potential to give the Blues the solidity and guidance they need.

The pair had grown up having contact with each other through the Under-17s and played New Zealand Under-20s for a while.

More recently West had been contracted to the Blues to renew his liaison with Hall.

"It is always nice to be able to have those combinations and when you have that kind of familiar feel about it you can get the gist of things out of each other.

"We've got a pretty explosive and talented backline and just being able to give them some direction and get them on the best position the field available to execute is the key," he said.



Hall knows the pressure that West has been under as the Blues have looked to lock down a regular first five-eighths and believes he does his job very well.

There had been talk that the outside backs needed to improve their communication skills back down the line to help them out because it was a team effort and not just based on one player with the backs, Hall said.

"He [West] needs information coming into him and they [the outside backs] even said themselves they've been poor in that department, so if we can rectify that it will be easier for him to concentrate on his game in marshalling our forwards around and having a good combination with myself," he said.

The information had come out of the review after the Hurricanes game as a work-on and represented the sort of accountability the players were looking to have. The communication was important not only for the insides but for the forwards as well, he said.

Hall is enjoying being injury free after a disappointing 2015.

"I had a few injuries during the Blues campaign last year and I was happy to get game time in the NPC campaign with North Harbour and it is nice to be able to contribute both on-and-off the field this year and hopefully, fingers crossed, I can keep it going.

"There are a lot of new things happening, we've come to a new facility, new coaching staff and a lot of new players so it just feels fresh to be honest.

"Even after two losses the positive vibe is still there," he said. "It's a week-to-week thing and we should get ourselves better each day we come here."

Just being able to be involved consistently has been a welcome advance on last season and he has been given clear instructions from the coaches of what they want from him.

"I've just been trying to execute that to the best of my ability both in training and when I'm on the pitch. I'm just enjoying my time and hopefully I can be given a few more opportunities," he said.