The Western Force recorded a club-record winning streak thanks to a sensational late Jayden Hayward try that sunk Queensland 32-29 in a Super Rugby thriller on Saturday night.
Kiwi-born fullback Hayward beat three defenders in a dramatic 79th-minute try after 16 pressure-filled phases to produce the eighth and final lead change at Suncorp Stadium.
Quade Cooper had a chance to level what was a spiteful yet entertaining game after the hooter but his drop-goal attempt sailed just wide to the right.
A hobbling Cooper had handed the goal-kicking duties to Mike Harris in the second half and the inside centre’s radar-boot had looked set to get the Reds home with four penalties.
But no one could take anything away from the Force who scored three tries to two and continued to fight back whenever the home side looked to have gained the momentum.
The victory was the first time in the club’s nine-season history they have won four straight and it puts them fourth on the table.
In a first half of niggle and big hits, the Force’s intensity at the breakdown saw them skip ahead to a 12-0 lead midway through the first half thanks to four Sias Ebersohn penalty goals.
But the match turned when Angus Cottrell was sin-binned for a rib-rattling shoulder charge on Jake Schatz.
With the flanker on the sidelines, the Reds – who had bombed earlier try-scoring chances – cut loose with Cooper ultimately giving the last pass for the rejuvenated Ben Tapuai and James Slipper to stroll over.
While the Reds went bang-bang with tries from sweeping backline movements, the Force hit back through a 16-phase forwards try full of pick-and-drives and one-out plays before front-rowers Pek Cowan and Nathan Charles sent Ben McCalman over.
Force centre Junior Rasolea was a major casualty, suffering a suspected broken wrist, while lock Sam Wykes also limped off before the team’s went to halftime at 17-17.
Reds teenager Jonah Placid finished with a chest injury in a forgettably brief debut that ended in a nasty collision with Hayward after a bad defensive read saw former Red Luke Morahan cross.