"Half happy, half sad."
That comment from Reds coach Brad Thorn summed up the emotion from both sides on Friday night after Queensland and the Rebels played out an 18-all draw on Friday night at Brookvale Oval.
The Rebels had an 18-8 lead until the 75th minute when a James O'Connor penalty narrowed the gap to seven points and then an Alex Mafi try converted by the 10 put them at level pegging when regulation time finished.
O’Connor was the hero for Queensland in week one and he played a pivotal role in the finals stages on Friday night, sending the game into Super Time.
The flyhalf had had the chance to level the scores in the 67th minute but missed a penalty and then threw an intercept pass to give Billy Meakes what seemed like a match-sealing try for the Rebels.
He narrowed the gap to seven points in the 75th minute with a penalty goal before converting Mafi's try after the 80-minute mark.
Scrums dominated the extra-time periods, eating up the clock to the frustration of many fans, and no scores were able to be conjured.
Queensland had the first chance to score just shy of the changeover, with Bryce Hegarty launching a 50-metre penalty shot falling just short and to the right.
That was the only real scoring opportunity of the 10-minute Super Time period and ultimately the teams split the points in the historic night.
For the Rebels there was a sense of a lost opportunity while the Reds had a more optimistic view
Rebels coach Dave Wessels said his team should have sealed the game well before the extra time period.
"We should've had the game in the bag," he said post-match.
"To have a lead like that and then blow it in the last few minutes, credit to the Reds for fighting but we didn't control the game well at that point and it's disappointing."
Thorn praised his side's grit to stay in the game after two yellow card periods and a 10-point hole deep in the game.
"Bit of a weird one, really," he said.
"We're half happy, half not happy. It's a new thing, they went for the golden point scenario there.
"They slugged it out for 90 minutes both teams,credit to both tams and didn't get a result in the end but there's two points we get, take it."
Two Matt To’omua penalties had the Rebels six points up at half-time before the sides traded tries in the second half as wet conditions began to dry up.
Queensland were down to 14 men for 20 minutes with yellow cards for Hamish Stewart and Hunter Paisami, though in those periods they managed to keep the Rebels out for the most part.
The Reds were dominant at scrum time and looked exciting in attack but errors with the ball in hand left them ruing opportunities throughout the game.
Both sides battled at lineout time, with a cumulative nine lineouts lost through the night and both operating at a 67 per cent return.
Melbourne had the better of the attack early in wet conditions and To’omua slotted the first points from a penalty in the seventh minute, taking the chance that an ill-disciplined Reds were gving him.
When Queensland made some progress in attack it continually came to naught, with the Rebels defence or a Reds handling error snuffing out their scoring chances.
As the rain came down, the errors mounted with sloppy handling pausing the momentum of the game.
Despite the conditions, both sides looked to move the ball rather than go for easy penalty points, something that was highlighted most notably when Melbourne turned down a point and To’omua subsequently went for a drop goal in open play.
The Rebels injected a spark into the game just shy of half-time with what looked like a Richard Hardwick try but the flanker was forced into touch.
Queensland began the second half a man down after Hamish Stewart was yellow-carded in the lead-up to that try for a cynical foul.
Rebels prop Pone Fa’amausili set an early tone in the second half with a monstrous hit on Bryce Hegarty but it was the Reds who found pay in the second stanza.
Winger Filipo Daugunu scored off a long but potentially dubious James O’Connor pass and gave the Reds the momentum.
O’Connor added to that with a penalty in the 51st minute and Queensland found themselves in the lead for the first time.
That only lasted three minutes until a superb Marika Koroibete ball to Dane Haylett-Petty ultimately put Reece Hodge over in the corner.
Meakes' try put the Rebels 10 points up but the Reds continued to fight, aided by an increasingly ill-disciplined Melbourne outfit.
Koroibete was forced out of the game just a minute after being collected high by Reds centre Paisami, who was subsequently yellow-carded.
A run of penalties put the Rebels at risk of a card and they conceded three points off O'Connor's boot but they avoided losing a man and kept the advantage going into the final minutes.
While it was O'Connor who featured most for Queensland in the final minutes, Thorn moved conversation away from his 10 and onto praise of his entire team after the game.
"The team, we kept fighting and we felt like we had, we were good in the game there, sometimes letting ourselves down with offside penalties and whatnot.
"It got close there, you talk about James, got 15 guys out there doing their stuff, something's stand out more than others because they're key players but he was chipping in like everyone else.
"Thing I'm proud about since three years ago is the fight that's in the team and we don't go away and just didn't quite get there today."
The Rebels have a bye next week while the Reds take on the Force in Brisbane.
Tries: Hodge, Meakes
Pens: To’omua 2
Tries: Daugunu, Mafi
Yellow card: Stewart, Paisami