A resoundingly resilient Force outfit and a complete lack of discipline has killed Queensland’s season, as the visitors kept their season alive with a 40-26 win.
Two yellow cards from total brain snaps – an Eto Nabuli high shot and a Nick Frisby karate kick in an attempt to save a try – meant the Reds were always on the back foot.
The forwards toiled hard and kept Queensland in the contest through a pair of Stephen Moore rolling maul tries but the Force simply played smarter rugby, as they always seem to do against the Reds.
They played their rugby in the Reds half and used the boot of Peter Grant – who was a perfect seven from seven – to consistently turn pressure into points.
That scoreboard pressure was enough to force the home side into some stupid errors, compounded by a complete lack of discipline, which really has been the theme of their season.
There was very little to excite the 12,040 at Suncorp Stadium in the first half, as both sides fumbled and bumbled their way to one try a piece.
There were some encouraging signs in the first Reds try at the five minute mark but there was very little by the way of inspiring play after that.
That try was sparked by a strong Scott Higginbotham run which afforded Quade Cooper the necessary space and time to weave his way through the Force line and put Duncan Paia’aua over.
The boot of Grant kept the Force alive as their attack offered little before Ross Haylett-Petty burrowed his way over just before half time to open up a 13-5 half time lead – a result of some relatively soft goal line defence from the home side.
The Reds would have copped a fair rocket from Nick Stiles at half time and they immediately responded with a cracking try.
Frisby capitalised on a woeful Grant kick, split a scattered Force kick chase, found Cooper, who found Lukhan Tui to bring the home side within one point.
Grant added three more points before the Reds hit back – refusing to roll over where they have in previous years against this side.
Cooper was again critical, working a five metre angle from a penalty 40 metres out to set up a lineout five metres out – a Stephen Moore rolling maul try following soon after.
That recipe worked a treat eight minutes later when Moore recorded a double – this time from 15 metres out.
That gave the Reds the lead but the Force put their noses in front ten minutes later through a try to Marchel Brache and never looked back.
Paia’aua missed a tackle on Rona off a Force scrum from 22 out and he popped the ball over Cooper’s head to Brache, opening up a 30-26 lead.
The Nabuli brain snap put him in the bin with 15 minutes to play – the Fijian reaching out and collecting Grant’s head as he caught a Cooper bomb.-
That triggered the run of play which resulted in a Tatafu Polota-Nau try – the final nail in the coffin of Queensland’s season.
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi (c), 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sef Fa’agase
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Kirwan Sanday, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Lachlan Maranta
Force: 15 Marcel Brache, 14 James Verity-Amm, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isireli Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Francois van Wyk
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Luke Morahan
Date: Friday, May 26
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Jordam Way
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore