Mike Harris of the Reds gets a pass away. Photo: Getty Images
Queensland looked dead in the water just minutes before halftime before embarking on a sensational comeback to topple Super Rugby guns the Chiefs 42-27. That's the kind of win that they built their 2011 title on and it's hard to overstate what that could mean to their campaign.
The Reds trailed 22-8 at the end of the first half before a gutsy call from James Horwill in the last minute before the break to opt against a penalty goal ended in a try to Ben Lucas. It turned the match on its head. They scored three quick tries to start the second half and with Chiefs strike weapon Richard Kahui off with a dislocated shoulder, the Kiwis couldn't get back in the contest.
But there's controversy to come and the Chiefs can rightly feel like they were sold short by officials. Luke Morahan lifted Sonny Bill Williams in the 65th minute and amazingly, referee Marius Jonker and touch judges Andrew Lees and Simon Moore didn't get his number. He would have had a yellow card. Instead, he made a pair of try-saving tackles. Stay tuned.
Claer run ... Will Genia of the Reds on the way to the tryline. Photo: Getty Images
Quade Cooper hasn't made up his mind for next season. But that's the kind of win that will make he want to stay put. And Digby Ioane tells Fox - "The Reds are back."
Worth the money Will Genia earned his dollars tonight. He was sensational for the Reds, kicking tactfully, scoring a runaway try in the second half and putting the game to bed with clinical precision at the death. He's back to his best.
Kid dynamite Michael Hooper has his fans and is a young gun but Liam Gill is the next best openside in the country behind David Pocock. The 19-year-old tortured the Chiefs at the breakdown, slowing play and coming up with some key pilfers. He was a pain all night.
Superboot Mike Harris has struggled to get back into the season after injury but his boot was the difference. He kicked six from seven plus a drop goal. Knocked them over from all corners of the park.
Man down It was a sad sight to see Richard Kahui helped off before the break. He was in awful pain and has dislocated his shoulder. That is surely his season done and dusted, which is really bad news for the Chiefs and the All Blacks.
FULLTIME Reds 42 Chiefs 27.
79th min The Reds stop them and can barely breathe. Nor can the Chiefs. Both sides have basically played their guts out here tonight. Brilliant game, a great wins for the Reds and controversy to come after the non send-off.
77th min Here goes SBW! Genia grabs him from behind and there's another try-saver from Morahan! Taumalolo takes off down the short side and the Reds fullback delivers a textbook stop to slide him into touch. That's enough to win it for them tonight. Reds 42 Chiefs 27.
75th min Harris makes no mistake. Welcome back, his boot. Reds lead 42-27 and that might well be enough to earn them a victory that would turn their season.
74th min Penalty on the way for the Reds. Jonkers finally blows the whistle and surely Harris is going to have a crack here. Both sides absolutely stuffed. Harris will kick from almost right in front, 36m out.
72nd min Morahan makes two try-saving tackles! Great stuff from the Reds fullback. And he should have been in the bin. The Chiefs are going to be absolutely fuming here. Reds hold on to lead 39-27. Robbie Robinson was the last man pushed into touch as Morahan came over in cover.
71st min Chiefs love that penalty. Cruden thumps it out and they will get the ball on halfway, with their backline stretching all the way to Kingaroy. Reds 39 Chiefs 27.
70th min Crowd is a season-high 36,479 as Genia puts in a lovely kick behind the Chiefs to find touch and make them throw the line-out on their five metre line. Edge of the seat stuff here. You really get the feeling it still could go either way despite the Reds leading 39-27. Chiefs haven't looked the same since Kahui left the field with a dislocated shoulder.
68th min Loose men all over the place for the Chiefs. Ioane gets his hand to that and they've missed a Chiefs knock on again. Some dodgy calls at the moment but the Chiefs right in the attack. Horwill comes off the field and can barely walk. Wallace-Harrison on. Reds 39 Chiefs 27. James Slipper putting in kicks. Freestyle football.
66th min Liam Gill wins the ball - again - and Genia smashes it up the park to really give his side a break. Boy they are lucky not to have a player in the sin bin. The Chiefs will - and should - be furious about that if they lose tonight.
65th min Danger here for the Reds! Morahan tips up Sonny Bill in the tackle and he could go here. Maybe a yellow. Again, nothing really in this. Tipped he over, didn't drive into the ground. And what about this - Jonkers tells Horwill that the only reason Morahan didn't get a yellow was because they didn't get his number! How did they not get the number? It was right next to the sideline? Can't they ask the video referee? Incredible. Reds 39 Chiefs 27.
62nd min Reds get great position. Genia isolated and they manage to keep it somehow. Harris! Field goal. Drops it over. Well played. Reds 39 Chiefs 27. Patient attack.
59th min Quick ball. Quality ball. TRY to the Chiefs. First real chance of the half and they fire it wide for Tikoirotuma scampers over. Great reply and badly needed. Cruden withstands a storm of booing only to miss a tough conversion. It's 36-27 to the Reds. They need to defend better than that.
56th min Digby Ioane has his first run of the night - and he drops it! What an anti climax. But he chased the turnover like a lunatic and probably saved a try. Thought I saw a Chiefs knock-on in there but goes without notice and the Chiefs win a penalty. They are after a try. Big defensive test for the Reds now. They lead 36-22.
52nd min Harris is AUTOMATIC. Nails it from the sideline and the Reds have scored and converted three tries in just over 10 minutes. They lead 36-22 and they know what is on the line tonight. We've seen what the Chiefs can do, of course, so a long way from over. Your turn, Chiefs.
50th min I cannot believe this. A TRY to the Reds and it's an onslaught. Saia Faingaa goes over in the corner. Just dove under a mountain of players and thuds it down. Harris lines up another shot and this is an incredible comeback. Stunning stuff. It's 34-22 with a kick on the way.
48th min Harris has found his mojo. He makes it five from six and the Reds lead 29-22 with a pair of quick tries to start this second half. That's an attacking bonus point for the Reds for the first tiome this season.
47th min TRY to the Reds! That's how you earn your cash Will Genia. Stood them up at the base of the scrum, dummied a thousand dummies and just streaks away! Almost a carbon copy finish to his grand final try and that's a brilliant start for Queensland. He goes 50m and the Reds lead 27-22.
45th min Gill has his fingerprints all over that one. Penalty to the Reds and he is tormenting the Chiefs tonight. Dislocated shoulder for Kahui so that's his night done. Very bad news for the big centre. Saia Faingaa on for the Reds as they turn it over in midfield. It's 22-all. Reds falling off tackles again already.
43rd min Harris gets it and we are all square at 22 here. He's three from four today and they need his boot to be on song, particularly against Cruden. As the coaches love to say, it's nil-all at the start of the second half.
42nd min Reds press early in the second half. Not a big stretch to say their season could be on the line here. And they're over! TRY to Scott Higginbotham. What a start for Queensland. It's 22-20 to the Chiefs.
Here's some key numbers and thoughts at the break...
- The Chiefs, when they string together decent phase, can torch anybody in Super Rugby. Cruden is taking the ball to the line and has any number of options, including Sonny Bill Williams, who is proving to be a huge problem for the Reds in attack and defence.
- James Horwill has shown he isn't afraid to go for a try instead of three points and that call right on halftime came up trumps. He's copped some flak in the past for a glory or death approach but Ben Lucas goes over to keep them in the contest.
- What's Digby Ioane done? Queensland's best ballrunner hasn't had a SINGLE touch in the first 40 minutes. He's been passed up on at least two occasions but his inside men, Luke Morahan in particular. He has to be involved for the Reds to win.
HALFTIME Harris sneaks it over from out wide and we have a game on our hands. It's Chiefs 22 Reds 15 at halftime. "Look what they did to us in 10 minutes with the ball," says Liam Gill to Fox as he trudges off.
41st min Reds still going. Almost over the line. And they score! Ben Lucas! TRY to the Reds. Vital stuff and the very gutsy call from Horwill to neglect the penalty shot and go for a try has paid off. It's 22-13.
40th min Bit of niggle there but the Reds have a final chance to get one back in these dying seconds. Right on the Chiefs line. This would be huge with a capital H.
38th min TRY to Taumalolo. Was very close but he got down low and went, went went. Reds falling off tackles and this could well be game over here at Suncorp. The Chiefs score three in 10 minutes and it's 22-8 to the Chiefs. They are all class.
38th min Chiefs just smashing the Reds in possession and territory. Simmons misses another tackle - surely he is gone at halftime. Another try just around the corner surely.... we've gone upstairs as Taumalolo claims the try in the corner.
35th min The Chiefs get running again but it ends over the sideline. Richard Kahui down for the visitors and it looks bad. Might have done a shoulder and a great deal of concern for the All Blacks centre. The Reds need this break. Their defence is all over the shop. They just can't work out the match-ups. Kahui leaves the field in plenty of discomfort. Jackson Willison the new man on the park. Chiefs lead 17-8.
33rd min TRY to the Chiefs! So, so easy. They go 80m and have stung Queensland. Sonny Bill stands up Horwill to start it all and that's a walk in the park. Really, really lazy and disorganised Reds defence there. Chiefs had support all over the place. It's 17-8 to the Chiefs. Boom.
32nd min Cruden kicks it with his eyes shut and the Chiefs lead 10-8. The Reds are playing pretty poorly here and it's a wonder they are this close at the moment. Need to assert themselves in this final 10 minutes as the Chiefs get their tails in the air.
30th min Reds win it and Genia clears to take off some pressure. Chiefs set their backline midfield and resume their assault. Huge chance here as they streak away on the left! And it's Sonny Bill Williams under the posts. TRY to the Chiefs! It's 8-all with a kick to come.
28th min Schwalger makes the mistake as the Reds aim up pretty well in defence. SBW was gearing up for a big charge at the sticks but they closed in quickly. Now a pressure scrum for Queensland.
26th min Morahan couldn't clear it off the line and the Chiefs came in numbers. Massive get out of jail for Queensland as Genia clears it but the Chiefs win the throw on the 22m line and get back to attacking.
25th min Scrum penalty to the Reds. They're "holding their own", as is generally the consensus about the Queensland set piece. Lucas makes the error though and now the Reds in huge trouble!
24th min Leonard sneaks around the back of the Reds scrum and almost gets the intercept as Higginbotham pops it up for Genia. Drops it just as he spies some space, though. Close call. Reds hold their 8-3 lead.
21st min Harris gets away with one there. Was completely lost in defence and the Chiefs fly right by. The Reds turn it over and it's that kid Liam Gill with the pilfer. He's a sensation. Reds 8 Chiefs 3.
20th min Gets it. Sneaks over the crossbar with a little chip shot into the green. Reds 8 Chiefs 3.
19th min Penalty to the Reds from the scrum. Harris will take the shot from 36m out. Right on the edge of his range I'd reckon.
17th min Williams on fire today. Absolutely DEMOLISHES Mike Harris and grabs the ball from the Reds centre before Harris even hits the deck. They will have one eye on SBW for the rest of day game. Huge presence in the Chiefs backline. Reds 5 Chiefs 3.
16th min Nails it. Reds 5 Chiefs 3. Open play galore. This one hasn't disappointed so far.
15th min Reds concede a scrum penalty and the Chiefs will have a shot from 24m out and seven metres in from touch. Cruden's first kick of the afternoon.
13th min Shipperley gets a hospital pass as he masquerades in the centres and is HAMMERED by Sonny Bill. And he rubs his face in the turf to boot. Great fun. In saying that, SBW's facial there was no worse than Quade's head rub on McCaw. Could offend the entire nation. Sadly, Shipperley is no Richie. Reds still lead 5-0 as the Chiefs bomb one on the left! Butchered it with a shocker of a pass from Horrell.
11th min Reds getting quick ball. They are making the pace very fast at the moment. Clear tactic and they are making good yards in this string of phases.
9th min Reds get the short arm from the scrum and pack another one. But's a dog's breakfast and they turn it over themselves. Silly stuff as the Chiefs make a break down the middle! Gill superb in defence, and Genia. Reds clean up and win the penalty. Phew for them. Reds 5 Chiefs 0.
7th min Morahan away! Too easy for the Reds but he can't find Ioane. He should have done better there the Reds fullback. Ended up waiting too long, was chopped down by Horrell and the Reds turn it over. Still 5-0 to Queensland.
6th min Harris misses the sideline conversion. Reds lead it 5-0. Harris doesn't look like he can kick far enough to get it over the crossbar at the moment. That's the sixth try of the season for Dom Shipperley. Knows how to finish.
4th min TRY to the Reds! Harris intercept and Dom Shipperley goes over for the five-pointer. Great start and Liam Messam at fault for that tragically bad pass. Popped it up perfectly. Harris didn't have the legs but Shipperley did the business.
3rd min That's box kick number one for Will Genia. Chiefs ball. No score just yet but good ball here for the New Zealanders.
2nd min We're away and the Reds spin it wide, only to have Ant Faingaa throw a terrible pass over the head of Ioane on the wing. Faingaa isn't paid to pass. Not in the job description.
Quade Cooper update Despite reports he would be making up his mind this weekend, Cooper - who is running water for the Reds today - just told Fox Sports he is no hurry to make his call and there were some options open. In what may be good news for the Reds, he did tell Fox that "nobody likes moving". Who does? Although, most movers I've used tend to look like Kiwi rugby players. They obviously love moving but surely they are the exception that proves the rule.
Preamble A perfect afternoon for running rugby here in Brisbane. It's been a hot day in May and the Reds, in theory, should absolutely love these conditions against Sonny Bill Williams and the Chiefs.
This is a huge game for the Queenslanders, who have started to show glimpses of their best form but must turn potential into points. They are 11th on the ladder, with the Chiefs now third, and they need to make some serious moves up the table to get back to the finals.
The Reds are virtually at full strengh, Quade Cooper aside, and will have no excuses on their home track after a tough and controversial away loss to the Crusaders last week. The Chiefs will go back to the top if they win today and that's incentive enough in a tight finals race.
There's a great buzz around the ground. It should be a superb game.