The St.George Queensland Reds have secured a dominant victory overcoming the ladder-leading Brumbies 26-7 in the final round of the regular season.
The Reds controlled the opening stages of the match, racing out to an 18-nil lead by the 36-minute mark courtesy of tries to Liam Wright and Chris Feauai-Sautia
In front of 9,922 fans – the biggest crowd at Suncorp Stadium in any code post-COVID, Queensland held the minor premiers scoreless in the second-forty to claim a 19-point win.
In the QRU’s ninth annual Indigenous Round, Captain Wright was named the Frank Ivory medallist as the Reds player of the match.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “A job well done. All season the Brumbies have been the front-runners and respect to them.
“It was a tight contest which you’d expect from two good sides. There’s a bit of pride with these lads (Reds players) around our stadium – our house, to go undefeated, four-from-four was a goal that we had.
“Now it’s all about next Saturday (Qualifying Final). There’s another job to do,” said Thorn.
Wright opened the scoring in the 5th minute, after Jock Campbell sliced through the Brumbies defence at the 22-metre line and sent his captain over with a deft flick pass.
James O’Connor extended the Queensland advantage to 8-nil with a penalty in the 16th minute, before a pair of try saving tackles by Tate McDermott on his own line ensured the hosts maintained their lead as the Brumbies searched for their first points.
A second O’Connor penalty and a try to Feauai-Sautia put the score out to 18-nil in the 36th minute, as Queensland dominated possession and field position in the opening forty.
Feauai-Sautia crossed on the back of a well-worked backline play from the base of a scrum, with silky short-balls from Hamish Stewart and Campbell giving the winger the space he needed to score.
Pete Samu found the line for the Brumbies’ first points on the stroke of halftime, as the Reds headed to the sheds with an 18-7 lead.
Neither side were able to find points in the opening 20-minutes of the second stanza, before a third O’Connor penalty stretched the Reds’ advantage to 21-7 with 15-minutes to play.
A McDermott try put the result beyond doubt in the 75th minute, with the scrumhalf picking up the crumbs from a dropped bomb and racing 30-metres to score his side’s third try and seal a 26-7 win.
Queensland will look to book spot in the Super Rugby Au Grand Final when they host the Melbourne Rebels in a Qualifying Final at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday.
St.George Queensland Reds 26
Tries: Wright, Feauai-Sautia, McDermott
Conversions: O’Connor 1
Penalties: O’Connor 3