A disappointed Reds brains trust has rued blown opportunities, having fallen four points short of a huge upset against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.
The Brisbane-based outfit refused to relent against their hosts, responding with a try each time the home side threatened to kick clear.
It was a performance more reminiscent of their Round 11 win over the Lions and while there were plenty of positives to be taken from the 38-34 defeat, coach Brad Thorn cut a frustrated figure post match.
“The guys went out, put on their Queensland jersey and competed hard but it was disappointing in the end, though,” he said.
“We competed and we were in the wrestle of the game.
“We kept on getting ourselves in the game, we played some good footy.
“The guys were committed and that’s what you need – that’s the standard in professional level footy.
“But there were some basic errors that really hurt us and it’s obviously still disappointing to lose that game.”
While expectations were very low given the Reds started as overwhelming underdogs, captain Scott Higginbotham said it was a game they will long view as one that got away.
“We didn’t look at it as a game in which we just wanted to compete – we looked at it as a game we wanted to win and we had our opportunities,” he explained.
“It was definitely our own fault, why we didn’t win that game.”
The Reds played arguably their best attacking rugby of the season on Friday and Thorn said that was all part of the learning curve for his troops.
“It’s the mindset,” he said.
“When you’re a young guy, you’re just learning your trade.
“You’re learning about skill sets and other things but also about turning up each week.
“You get a routine, you get a feel for being battle hardened and playing week to week.
“It takes time but we’re easily the youngest team in the comp and I’m so proud of those boys.
“I’m asking a lot of them but they love it, they bring it and it bodes well for Queensland rugby going forward.”
Taniela Tupou was the star of the show, scoring a well earned pick and drive try before setting up another with a devastating run but Thorn took a more wholesome view of his performance.
“He’s a big lad – 133kg – but there are big lads all over the world and they all know how to tackle,” he said.
“You want to have a complete game and I guess any player, they’re searching for that complete game.
“He’s at the beginning at tighthead of perhaps a 15 year career.
“He’s got that special X-factor about him which is really cool – it’s all part of it.”