The St.George Queensland Reds have been defeated 34-21 by the Blues as the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) celebrated its 10th annual Indigenous Round.
In front of a crowd of 13,218, the visitors ran in four-tries-to-three, with Queensland unable to snatch an unlikely draw in the final minutes at Suncorp Stadium.
19-year-old Mac Grealy made his Queensland and Super Rugby debut in the loss, while number-eight Harry Wilson was named the Frank Ivory Medallist as man of the match.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “They were really good the Blues.
“When they get down your end, it’s like a South African style of bombardment – just retaining the ball.
“We didn’t start that second-half well. We kicked off and next minute we were down on their line. It’s hard to get momentum.
“It’s expected and a given with the group, but the guys just go right until the end.
“Unfortunately, an error happened there, but the guys are just ripping in right until the end. I take my hat off to that, but we have to be smarter,” said Thorn.
Otere Black opened the scoring with a penalty in the 12th minute to give the visitors the advantage early.
Queensland hit back thanks to a Wilson try in the 21st minute, with the number-eight charging on to a precise Hunter Paisami short ball and streaking 20-metres to score. Isaac Henry made no mistake with the conversion attempt to give Queensland a 7-3 lead.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa was shown a yellow-card four minutes later and the Blues quickly capitalised with a try to Dalton Papalii. Black converted to give his side their first lead of the match at 10-7.
Mark Telea crossed for the visitors second five-pointer of the night in the 34th minute, opening up a 17-7 lead for the Blues at the half-time break.
Blues skipper Patrick Tuipulotu found the line early in the second stanza to stretch the visitor’s advantage to 24-7, but it wasn’t long before the Reds responded with their second try of the night to cut their deficit to 10-points. Paenga-Amosa was the scorer, the hooker diving on a loose ball and rolling over the line to score. Henry added his second conversion of the night to bring the score to 24-14 with 30-mintutes left to play.
Finlay Christie then dove over from close range to put the score out to 31-14 in favour of the visitors, as both sides made the most of their attacking opportunities.
Filipo Daugunu was next to score for Queensland, the flying Fijian storming on to a Hamish Stewart cross-field kick and dotting down under the posts for the Reds’ third try of the night. Henry added the extras to bring the hosts within 10-points at 31-21 with nine-minutes remaining.
A Daugunu penalty in the 79th minute gave the Reds the opportunity to even the scores in the final seconds, but the visitors were able to hold-on to secure a 31-24 win.
Queensland travel to Wellington next week for their final match of the season against the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium on Friday 11 June.