Queensland fans have seen plenty of history repeating in 2016 but as the Reds claimed a 28-27 win over the Highlanders, they were all too happy for a dose of deja vu.
After leading by as many as 22 points, the Reds had their lead whittled down to just one point as the Highlanders ran in three second-half tries, but Queensland managed to hang on to finally snap their 2016 winless streak.
Queensland also notched a win for the Australian Super Rugby sides, with the first trans-Tasman victory since the Brumbies’ round one win over the Hurricanes.
The Reds showed their willingness to run and attack early in the game, a signal of what was to come, as their backline produced its best performance of the season.
Samu Kerevi looked back to the blistering form that put him in the Wallabies frame last year, with some electrifying runs in the opening stages.
Kerevi’s first major run in the ninth minute resulted in a Liam Gill try in the corner and Nick Frisby had the Reds’ second in the 16th minute, collecting a pass from speedster Eto Nabuli to stretch the Reds lead to nine points,
Lima Sopoaga kept the Highlanders in the match, with two penalties, including one just short of halfway, their only scores of the first stanza.
Fortune fell the way of Queensland early in the second half as officials disallowed two Highlanders tries - one for an offside infringement and another for a neck roll on Reds hooker Andrew Ready.
The Highlanders’ ascendancy ultimately bore fruit, with an Aaron Smith try in the 59th minute.
Malakai Fekitoa squeezed in the Highlanders’ second in the 69th minute to narrow the margin to 10 points, before Lima Sopoaga had an 80-metre intercept try two minutes later.
It wasn’t all good news for the Reds, with vice-captain Rob Simmons exiting the game in the first half with a collarbone injury.
(Tries: Gill, Frisby, Kerevi Con: McIntyre 2 Pens: McIntyre 2 Drop: McIntyre )
(Tries: Smith, Fekitoa, Sopoaga Cons: Sopoaga Pens: Sopoaga 2)