Queensland gave the British and Irish Lions the fight they craved as Quade Cooper orchestrated a high-octane attacking display which ultimately went unrewarded on Saturday night.
Missing Will Genia, James Horwill and five more Wallabies, the Reds still pushed the tourists all the way for a highly honourable 22-12 defeat in front of a sell-out Lang Park crowd of 50,136.
Played at frenetic pace despite drizzling rain, the Reds’ helter-skelter attack stretched the Lions defence throughout but the tourists’ power in the set-piece won the day.
Queensland scored two tries to one, but stray goalkicking cost the home side as both Cooper and Mike Harris missed close-range attempts which should have had the scoreline closer in the dying minutes.
In contrast, English sharpshooter Owen Farrell slotted six from six in the wet.
“In tough conditions against a team that’s really come out and given us a good go in the first half … it was a good-hit out definitely,” Farrell told Grandstand.
They came out all guns blazing and really put some pressure on us in the first 10 minutes, and then we kind of hit back and got into the game a bit.
All eyes were on Cooper in the lead-up to Saturday night’s affair as the rugby world waits to see if he can earn a late call-up to Robbie Deans’ Wallabies squad on June 11.
But stand-in Queensland captain said he could not focus on anything further ahead than what the Reds were doing.
“To me it’s not about doing enough or doing anything more; I’m just continuing to do what I can do to be the best that I can be for the team that I’m playing for,” he told Grandstand.