It was a game befitting of its billing, and had social media alight in the closing stages as the Reds snatched a thrilling win.
Some brilliant tries and unfortunate injuries but what else did we learn?
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1. An instant classic
Commentator Sean Maloney called it perfectly straight on the full-time siren. The game was a cracker and rarely does a fixture exceed the pre-match hype. The Reds just never gave in, and snatched their only lead of the game with 30 seconds left on the clock. Don’t forget, they were down 17-nil after just 15 minutes. They play again on April 10 at Suncorp Stadium. Mark it in your calendar NOW!
2. Vunivalu a work in progress
After 80 odd tries in just over 100 NRL games, it was no surprise to see the Reds off-season recruit Suliasi Vunivalu dot down for Queensland’s opening try. It was a nice finish as he tiptoed down the sideline but there were two moments in the first half that highlighted his defensive naivety. Nic White targeted Vunivalu with the experienced number nine causing the convert to bite, and left Pete Samu alone on the wing to touchdown unopposed. Despite those lapses, the upside is clearly evident. It would be amazing if Suliasi isn’t involved with the Wallabies this year.
3. Lolesio or JOC
Speaking of a Wallabies jersey, who will wear the Gold number 10 come Test time? Noah Lolesio was assured all night, perfect off the tee and steered his team around comfortably. But his opposite number got the choccies with James O’Connor’s game management proving masterful. Some eyebrows were raised when he kicked for the sticks on a few occasions but none more so than the penalty with five minutes left to play. That decision was the right one though and set the Reds up for their grandstand finish.
4. Taniela and the Reds scrum
That performance by Taniela and the Reds scrum was something else. Just so dominant in the closing stages and truly changed the game with 20 minutes left to play. Taniela Tupou was key in that and almost singlehandedly tore the Brumbies pack apart. Now, it has to be said that it all changed after some unlucky injuries in the Brumbies front row..
5. Brumbies undermanned
It was another horror night on the injury front for Dan McKellar and his troops. Scott Sio trundled off bracing his arm before tighthead Tom Ross made way shortly after. This is all after James Slipper went down a fortnight ago with a knee injury and is in the middle of Allan Alaalatoa serving a three-match ban for a high shot. The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for the Brumbies who will also be sweating on the recovery of Tom Cusack who seemed to get a shoulder stinger.
AN INSTANT CLASSIC: Reds snatch win at the death
FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED: Western Force v Rebels
MIRACLE TRY: Crusaders rally after freak finish