The Rebels held off a brave fightback from the Reds before securing a hard-fought 25-23 victory in Melbourne on Saturday.
Despite claiming the result, the home side were outscored two tries to one and had to rely on the boot of Jack Debreczeni to win this match.
Debreczeni finished with a 20-point haul after slotting six penalties and a conversion with the Rebels' only other points coming via a Jonah Placid try.
The men from Brisbane, who parted ways with their head coach Richard Graham earlier in the week, showed plenty of character and although they were outclassed in the opening quarter, didn't disgrace themselves and delivered their best performance of the season.
The hosts were fastest out of the blocks and raced in to a 16-0 lead thanks to three Debreczeni penalties and Placid's try in the 25th minute.
Placid's five-pointer came when he dived onto the ball behind the Reds' tryline after Ben Meehan stabbed a grubber kick through deep inside the Reds' 22 which caught the defence napping.
Despite that score, the Reds struck back with arguably the best try of the match in the 35th minute. Nick Frisby rounding off under the posts after running onto a pass from Hendrik Tui who bashed his way through several defenders inside his 22 before offloading to his scrum-half.
Jake McIntyre kicked the conversion and added a penalty shortly afterwards which meant the Reds were back in the match, trailing 16-10 at half-time.
The second half started scrappliy with both sides committing unforced errors and Debreczeni gave his side a nine-point lead when he added his fourth penalty shortly after the restart.
McIntyre then cancelled out that effort, with a penalty of his own in the 46th minute, before Debreczeni made it 19-10 to the hosts via the kicking tee 10 minutes later.
That score didn't deter the Reds though, and on the hour-mark they notched their second five-pointer – Andrew Ready dotting down from a rolling maul deep inside the Rebels' 22.
McIntyre added the extras which meant ther Rebels held a two-point advantage but the Reds took the lead for the first time in the 67th minute via another McIntyre penalty, after the hosts were penalised for a scrum infringement.
The Reds relinquished their lead five minutes later when Debreczeni landed another penalty and the visitors suffered another setback inside the final 10 minutes when Anthony Fainga’a was yellow carded for a cynical offence on defence.
With time running out, both sides gave their all in a bid to secure victory but a plethora of errors from both sides meant there would be no change in the scoreline which meant the hosts held on for a narrow triumph.
Pens: Debreczeni 6
Tries: Frisby, Ready
Cons: McIntyre 2
Pens: McIntyre 3
Yellow card: Fainga’a
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Jonah Placid, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Sean McMahon (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Steve Cummins, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Dan Hawkins, 23 Kotaro Matsushima
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Waita Setu, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons (c), 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Sef Fa’agase
Replacements: 16 Matt Mafi, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ayumu Goromaru
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Referees: Graham Cooper, Ed Martin
TMO: Peter Marshall
By David Skippers