Queensland will host the Brumbies in the Super W finals playoff next week after the Reds beat the ACT 24-12 in their regular season match on Sunday afternoon..
Both coming into the game with just one loss for the season, playoff hosting rights were up for grabs at GIO Stadium.
Queensland’s decision to rest some of their bigger names looked like coming back to bite them as the Brumbies scored the first try of the game and powered their way to an edge.
The Reds’ class, though, proved the difference as the clock ticked over and they made the most of their chances.
Lori Cramer kept the scoreboard ticking over with a perfect return off the boot while backrower Shannon Mato was rewarded for a busy afternoon with two tries.
The Brumbies had an early penalty opportunity but usual sharp shooter Sammie Wood’s kick drifted to the right.
It was the hosts who had the upperhand in the possession stakes in the early stages of the game.
Though Queensland tried to gain territory, the Brumbies still had the edge and their defence held firm under pressure.
A Sarah Riordan break looked like opening up the opportunity for the first score but a desperate Brumbies defensive effort forced a mistake from the Wallaroo.
It was Cramer who finally managed to tally some points off the boot in the 16th minute, giving the visitors the edge.
The weight of possession reaped rewards for the Brumbies through Ema Masi, who powered her way over the line to score the first five-pointer of the day and send a warning to Queensland.
As the half ticked on, Queensland began to heap on the pressure but the Brumbies did immensely well to hold out their opponents.
The Brumbies pack began to stamp its authority, claiming a pivotal scrum penalty but the ensuing kick failed to go into touch, giving Queensland a chance to counterattack.
Queensland showed some slick attack as the half ticked on, desperate to snatch back the lead, and eventually Ivy Kaleta found pay for the Reds, to give them the advantage
The Reds hammered the Brumbies line immediately in the second half, looking to their forwards for a series of pick and goes.
It was halfback Cobie Jane Morgan who set up the score in the end, taking a quick tap and putting backrower Shannon Mato over.
The Brumbies had an opportunity to reply and it appeared as though Brumbies co-captain Jane Garraway was going to nab a try but the halfback was pinged for not releasing, sending her team into defence again.
Queensland’s class started to shine through as the clock ticked down, Mato crashing over for her second of the afternoon.
The Brumbies desperately tried to break through a seemingly impenetrable Reds defence and it was Queensland who won a penalty to clear the danger zone.
While they had difficulty adding to their tally, the Brumbies were eking an advantage at scrum time, getting the better of the Queensland pack.
They worked their way towards the line and through some solid lineout work, the Brumbies put themselves in scoring range again.
It was Masi who managed to break away from the Reds defence and give the ACT side pay for their patience, collecting an Ella Ryan offload to score.
The Brumbies kept the play going well after full-time, kicking to the corner in the hope of nabbing a late score but an infringement gave Queensland the chance to end the game.
The two sides will play off in front of an empty stadium next week, under coronavirus restrictions, to win a spot in the grand final against New South Wales in a fortnight’s time.
Tries: Masi 2
Tries: Mato 2, Kaleta,
Cons: Cramer 2