The Queensland Reds have fought their way to a 25-19 win over the Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium.

Replacement flyhalf Harry McLaughlin-Phillips proved the hero, getting the pilfer penalty as the Chiefs attacked their line for 23 phases.

The Reds started strong and took a 15-11 lead into the break thanks to tries to Fraser McReight and Matt Faessler.

However, the Chiefs refused to die and eventually hit the lead, only for Josh Flook to get the hosts back in front.

As the visitors looked set to steal the game at the end, the Reds stepped up in defence and forced the mistake.

A bright start to the reign of new coach Les Kiss now boasts a 2-1 record as the Reds rebounded in style from last weekend's heartbreaking golden point defeat against the Hurricanes.

They came up with the match-winning points despite the absence of star playmaker Tom Lynagh, who copped a brutal late shot to the ribs that forced him to leave the field in the 53rd minute.

Five-eighth Lynagh was steamrolled by Chiefs flanker Samipeni Finau just seconds after he'd been in the hands of the doctor with a shoulder complaint.

Teenage substitute McLaughlin-Phillips stepped up shortly afterwards and put in a grubber kick that took a sharp bounce and sat up for centre Josh Flook to restore the Reds' lead.

They had gone in 15-11 up at halftime, but having dominated territory and regularly threatened the Chiefs' line the gap could - and perhaps should - have been wider.

Hooker Matt Faessler crossed for his fourth try in three games off the back of a rolling maul in the 17th minute, while Fraser McReight gave the Reds the lead six minutes later after a clever read from halfback Tate McDermott.

The clinical Chiefs cashed in on limited first-half chances, scoring from their only trip inside their opponents' 22-metre zone in the first 25 minutes, through fullback Josh Ioane.

The Reds' defensive intensity could not be questioned, surviving two deep 12-phase Chiefs possessions late in the first half and only conceding a solitary penalty goal.

REDS (1-15): Sef Fa'agase, Matt Faessler, Zane Nonggorr, Seru Uru, Ryan Smith, Liam Wright (co-c), Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (co-c), Tom Lyngah, Mac Grealy, Isaac Henry, Josh Flook, Suli Vunivalu, Jock Campbell

RESERVES: Josh Nasser, Peni Ravai, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Cormac Daly, John Bryant, Kalani Thomas, Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, Tim Ryan 

CHIEFS (1-15): Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei'aho, George Dyer, Tupou Vaa'i, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Samipeni Finau, Simon Parker, Luke Jacobson (c), Cortez Ratima, Damian McKenzie, Liam Coombes-Fabling, Rameka Poihipi, Daniel Rona, Shaun Stevenson, Josh Ioane

RESERVES: Tyrone Thompson, Ollie Norris, Reuben O'Neill, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Wallace Sititi, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Josh Jacomb, Anton Lienert-Brown