Quade Cooper made a victorious return to Brisbane as the Rebels beat the Reds 32-13 on Saturday.
Cooper spent 11 seasons at the Reds, but was frozen out by coach Brad Thorn last year, promoting his move to Melbourne.
He and former Reds halfback partner Will Genia were hugely influential on Saturday, as the Rebels snapped a two-match losing streak to go back to the top of the Australian conference.
The first half of this match was a largely forgettable affair.
Cooper and Bryce Hegarty exchanged early penalty goals, but it was the Rebels who dominated possession and territory.
The visitors came close to scoring in the 15th minute after a sustained attack finished with Cooper losing the ball in contact just short of the tryline. The flyhalf did add another three points to his team’s tally soon after, but that was cancelled out by a penalty goal from Tate McDermott.
The Rebels finally got reward for their dominance, two minutes before the break. With the referee playing advantage, Cooper kicked into the right-hand corner, with Jack Maddocks leaping up to win the aerial battle against a retreating Hamish Stewart and score the first try.
The Rebels then struck two big blows early in the second half to take complete control of the game. First, Anaru Rangi went over from a lineout driving maul and then Cooper kicked ahead a loose ball and Maddocks chased it down. Cooper slotted both conversions to make it 25-6.
The Reds thought they had hit back at the end of the third quarter when, after an 11-phase attack, Brandon Paenga-Amosa crashed over from close range. However, TV replays showed McDermott had knocked on earlier, thanks to a hand from Genia.
The Reds did get a try, through a pick and drive from Taniela Tupou, with six minutes to go. But it was the Rebels who finished with a flourish as Rob Leota went over after 15 phases to secure the bonus point.
Reds – 13
Try: Taniela Tupou
Conversion: Bryce Hegarty
Penalties: Hegarty, Tate McDermott
Rebels – 32
Tries: Jack Maddocks (2), Anaru Rangi, Rob Leota
Conversions: Quade Cooper (3)
Penalties: Cooper (2)
1. JP Smith ,2. Alex Mafi ,3. Ruan Smith ,4. Izack Rodda,5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto ,6. Angus Scott-Young ,7. Liam Wright ,8. Scott Higginbotham ,9. Tate McDermott ,10. Bryce Hegarty,11. Sefa Naivalu ,12. Samu Kerevi (c),13. Chris Feauai-Sautia ,14. Filipo Daugunu ,15. Hamish Stewart ,
Replacements : 16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa,17. Harry Hoopert ,18. Taniela Tupou,19. Harry Hockings ,20. Fraser McReight ,21. Moses Sorovi,22. Duncan Paia’aua ,23. Isaac Lucas
1. Tetera Faulkner,2. Anaru Rangi,3. Sam Talakai (Vice Captain),4. Matt Philip,5. Adam Coleman,6. Luke Jones,7. Angus Cottrell (Captain),8. Isi Naisarani,9. Will Genia,10. Quade Cooper,11. Marika Koroibete,12. Billy Meakes,13. Tom English,14. Jack Maddocks,15. Reece Hodge
Replacements : 16. Robbie Abel,17. Matt Gibbon,18. Jermaine Ainsley,19. Esei Ha’angana,20. Rob Leota,21. Michael Ruru,22. Campbell Magnay,23. Sione Tuipulotu
Match Officials and details
Date : Saturday 30 March
Venue : Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick Off local: 18:45 l
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1:Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2:Marius van der Westhuizen
TMO :James Leckie