April 7, 2023
Overlooked halfback Tate McDermott fired his best shots but adversary Nic White had the last laugh as the ACT Brumbies picked apart the Queensland Reds for their first win in Brisbane for eight years.
An eyebrow-raising omission from Eddie Jones' Wallabies squad this week, McDermott blazed 55 metres for a terrific solo try as the Reds gained an early 14-7 ascendancy.
But the Brumbies chipped away, exposing the Reds' sloppiness and lack of second-half structure in a runaway 52-24 win to improve to 6-1 and second place on the live Super Rugby Pacific ladder.
The Reds fell to 2-5 and likely outside the top eight by the end of the round, heaping further pressure on off-contract coach Brad Thorn.
It ended a 14-game Reds winning streak against Australian opponents at the ground, with an early red card for Angus Blyth rubbing salt into their wounds.
Veteran halfback White struck the dagger blow early in the second half, his kick in behind the Reds finding acres of space for Len Ikitau to score for a 28-17 lead.
The Reds led 14-7 and 17-4 after in-form winger Jordan Petaia's storming run and regathered grubber earned a penalty and led to Brumbies fullback Tom Wright being yellow carded.
But it was the visitors who scored next, with Dane Zander giving away another penalty in the ruck and Lachlan Lonergan scoring from a textbook rolling maul after the halftime siren.
Queensland started well, giving the Brumbies a taste of their own medicine with an efficient rolling maul try to Matt Faessler off a lineout.
That came undone in Blyth's moment of madness though, the fit-again lock lasting just eight minutes in his first start of the season after a charge down on Corey Toole went horribly wrong.
The second-rower tucked his head and struck the pint-sized winger on the chin, with Toole wobbling twice when attempting to regain his feet and quickly ruled out with concussion.
The incident was upgraded on review to a red, with Blyth's suspension potentially ruling him out for the rest of the regular season.
Tom Wright scored while the Reds were a man down, when Noah Lolesio's neat bounce pass allowed him to fall over the line.
The Reds were back in front in the 23rd minute when McDermott beat five men - the last with a cheeky dummy and wide smile - on the way to the line.
The lead slowly disappeared, though, as the Reds lost their way after the break and the Brumbies piled on five second-half tries.