The depleted Crusaders have made it 12 straight wins over the Queensland Reds, who are again counting the costs of unforced errors in a second-straight Super Rugby Pacific loss.

The defending champions were missing a slew of A-listers headlined by David Havili, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue and Sam Whitelock.

But they didn't need them, the Reds squandering early chances to build a lead before falling 25-12 on Friday at Suncorp Stadium.

It followed a frustrating loss to Melbourne Rebels, dropping the Reds to 2-4 this season.

Reds playmaker James O'Connor endured a night of mishaps that began early when his penalty kick for touch went dead in-goal.

Demoted as kicker for goal, he watched replacement Isaac Henry go one-from-three before resuming the duties and hitting the post himself with a late penalty miss.

He also missed a tackle for the Crusaders' first try, gave possession away with some poor in-game kicking and failed to marshal his troops when the Reds did hold the ball.

Winger Suliasi Vunivalu was also quiet in a 60-minute stint but, ahead of Sunday's squad announcement from new coach Eddie Jones, other Wallabies hopefuls did press reasonable cases.

Jordan Petaia was full of confidence in a season-best showing in a reminder of his worth, scoring a late try thanks to a neat grubber from Tate McDermott.

The halfback came to life too, energetic with the ball as the Reds tried to play with pace and also bright in defence.

Flanker Harry Wilson was involved in everything in a busy first half, making two line breaks and creating opportunities the hosts were unable to take.

They still only trailed 15-7 at halftime, McDermott finishing a neat play that began with O'Connor and Jock Campbell down the right flank.

Earlier, two breaks through the guts of the Reds' defence led to tries to Crusaders Leicester Fainga'anuku and Dom Gardiner.

Willi Heinz scored first after the break for the visitors, the try standing despite replays suggesting the ball had been promoted to the line inside the ruck.

Petaia's try kept the Reds close but Richie Mo'unga kicked the Crusaders clear, the Reds butchering late chances to rescue a bonus point when they twice overplayed their hands to lose possession close to the line.

REDS 12 (TRIES: McDermott, Petaia CONS: Henry 1/2 PENS: Henry 0/1, O'Connor 0/1)

CRUSADERS 25 (TRIES: Fainga'anuku, Gardiner, Heinz CONS: Mo'unga 2/3 PENS: Mo'unga 2/2)

REDS (1-15): Peni Ravai, Matt Faessler, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Liam Wright (co-c) Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia, Isaac Henry, Josh Flook, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell

RESERVES: Richie Asiata, Dane Zander, Phransis Sula-Siaosi, Angus Blyth, Jake Upfield, Kalani Thomas, Taj Annan, Mac Grealy

CRUSADERS (1-15): Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Tamaiti Williams, Scott Barrett (c), Dominic Gardiner, Sione Havili Talitui, Tom Christie, Christian Lio-Willie, Noah Hotham, Richie Mo'unga, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Dallas McLeod, Braydon Ennor, Pepesana Patafilo, Fergus Burke

RESERVES: Brodie McAlister, George Bower, Seb Calder, Jamie Hannah, Corey Kellow, Willi Heinz, Will Gualter, Chay Fihaki

Referee: Damon Murphy

Assistant Referees: Graham Cooper, Reuben Keane