Harry Wilson has done as directed to help pilot the Queensland Reds to a 23-5 victory over the Melbourne Rebels in a dour Super Rugby Pacific opener in Brisbane.

The No.8 produced a moment of magic in a game riddled with errors, spinning in a tackle and reaching to somehow plant the ball for a decisive second-half try.

He showed clean hands and constantly made ground around the ruck, while a try-saving tackle in the first half stopped the Rebels from drawing level.

Initially one of the first picked in Dave Rennie's Wallabies side, Wilson was left in Australia for the Spring Tour last year to work on his game and fitness.

He's presented in fine form and was a bright spot in the first-round clash on a wet night at Suncorp Stadium.

Centre Josh Flook provided the other highlight, a cross-field kick off the outside of his boot in traffic to find impressive fullback Jock Campbell for a try in the final seconds.

The Reds led 13-5 at halftime, Brad Wilkin's try off a precise driving maul from a Rebels lineout bringing the visitors some joy before the break.

The points came just as Taniela Tupou, who scored the game's first try, was preparing to return from a yellow card given for deliberate offside while the Rebels peppered the line.

When Tupou dived over in the left corner it marked a 22nd four-pointer in 79 games, putting him equal sixth at the Reds for Super Rugby tries.

Melbourne, missing injured Wallabies Andrew Kellaway and Rob Leota, knocked back kickable penalty opportunities three times in the first half, prepared to pursue the try in line with new coach Kevin Foote's bold approach.

It almost paid off, only fantastic goal-line tackles from Wilson and Jordan Petaia defying the Rebels as Joe Powell's low diving effort was thwarted.

The errors were there from the start, former Reds Academy talent Carter Gordon's first touch in his home state a dropped ball in goal to put the Rebels under the pump from the opening minute.

The No.10 and fullback Reece Hodge battled with the boot too, both missing their targets while Reds No.15 Campbell was refreshingly clean as he made his own statement to Rennie.

Reds co-captain Liam Wright was substituted at the break and had ice applied to his right shoulder.

Queensland Reds 23 (Tries: Tupou, Wilson & Campbell, Con: O'Connor, Pens: O'Connor 2) defeated the Melbourne Rebels 5 (Try: Wilkin)

REDS: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott (captain), 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (captain), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Dane Zander.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Ryan Smith, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Spencer Jeans, 22 Hunter Paisami, 23 Lawson Creighton.

REBELS: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Lachie Anderson, 12 Matt To’omua, 13 Stacey Ili, 11 Glen Vaihu, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Sam Wallis, 5 Ross Haylett-Petty, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Cabous Eloff, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr.
Replacements: 16 Matt Gibbon, 17 James Hanson, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Thomas Nowlan, 20 Tamati Ioane, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Raymond Nu’u, 23 Young Tonumaipea.

Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy, Nic Berry