Brumbies 6 Reds 3
BRISBANE - Former Red Julian Huxley returned to Suncorp Stadium to break Queensland hearts last night by kicking the Brumbies to the lowest-scoring Super 14 rugby victory ever.
Huxley broke a 3-all deadlock with eight minutes left to give the Brumbies the Rod Macqueen Cup 6-3 by nailing a 32m penalty goal after a horrible head-high tackle by Lloyd Johansson on skipper Stirling Mortlock.
Mortlock had to be assisted from the field after Johansson's sickening coathanger.
The Reds had to play out the rest of the scrappy yet tense encounter with just 14 men as the 107kg centre was yellow-carded by Matt Goddard, who could have flashed red.
They still had a chance to draw level but their 17th knock-on inside the last 90 seconds denied Reds standout Berrick Barnes a 30m field goal attempt.
The more-composed Brumbies, who also suffered from a terrible attack of the fumbles and have now gone more than three hours without scoring a try, closed out the game to continue their local derby dominance with a 12th win from 13 Super matches over Queensland.
Huxley was also the most influential Brumbies player, kicking the visitors out of trouble with his huge right boot as Queensland dominated possession and territory for the first 50 minutes.
His last-ditch penalty attempt turned the tables on last week's costly late miss in the loss to the Blues in Canberra.
"It was definitely not a pretty match to watch but we'll take it," he said.
"It's the way the game's going, you just have to grind it out."
The Brumbies bombed a chance 15 minutes earlier to break the game open when a galloping Mark Chisholm's pass missed Mortlock with the line wide open.
The fiery traditional interstate match exploded in the 16th minute when an all-in brawl broke out over the sideline.
Front-row patrons were just a few feet from a fired-up Ben Tune as he threw a flurry of upper cuts and Reds teammate Clinton Schifcofske held back a filthy Stephen Larkham.
Once the stoush ended the 25,170 crowd applauded as one but it was only openside flankers George Smith and David Croft who were surprisingly shown yellow cards for charging into the fray.
The teams were deadlocked at 3-all after a ferocious and scrappy first half where the Reds enjoyed almost 75 per cent of the possession.
Queensland's pack, even with brave prop Greg Holmes nursing a shoulder injury, outmuscled and screwed the Brumbies scrum, causing three tight-head turnovers.
The visitors lineout also disintegrated through the ordinary throwing of Wallabies hooker Jeremy Paul.
The Brumbies disastrously won only four of their first five lineouts, with Paul guilty of three crooked throws.
But the Reds couldn't take toll of their welter of possession and territorial advantage, spilling the ball at key moments attacking the Brumbies line.
Winger Brando Va'alu, a smokey starter after Eddie Jones pulled a swifty by benching Johansson and starting with Peter Hynes at No 12, was the only man to cross the line but the try was disallowed for a knock-on detected by the touch judge.
Hynes was the dangerman of the first half, making three midfield line-breaks, including one from a deft Rodney Blake off-load, but had to be benched at halftime with an ankle injury.