Reds overcome fading Force
Hosts storm back after the break to win season opener
Last Updated: February 20, 2011 12:43pm
Roar of delight: Faingaa touches down for the Reds
Saia Faingaa and James Hanson scored second-half tries as Queensland Reds came from behind to clinch a 21-20 win over the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium.
Quade Cooper kicked 11 points for the Reds, including the match-clinching conversion four minutes from time, while James O'Connor scored all of the Force's points with a try and five penalties.
Cooper opened the scoring with a penalty from the sideline after Nathan Charles was brought up for a high tackle on flanker Ed Quirk.
But the Force were in front 11 minutes in as O'Connor responded with two penalties of his own.
A high turnover count kept the game open but the Force remained on top with good defence as O'Connor and Cooper traded penalties.
Will Chambers dropped the ball in the in-goal after collecting Cooper's perfectly-weighted grubber kick and the Reds missed a golden opportunity to hit back.
Cameron Shepherd went close to scoring the first try when he ran at the line after a well-worked set-piece but James Horwill held the ball up with a last-gasp tackle.
O'Connor sent over a penalty to put the Force 12-6 ahead at the break after Rod Davies had been yellow-carded for his part in a sideline scuffle.
The Reds tried to keep it tight in the second half but the mistakes continued even though Cooper slotted another penalty to reduce the arrears to three points.
Cooper missed the chance to level the scores when the Force were penalised for off-side.
O'Connor stretched the lead with 20 minutes to play as the Reds conceded a penalty as they kept the Force at bay close to the Queensland try line.
A surprise lineout play finally provided the Reds with the chance to breach the Storm try line as Faingaa took a short throw to Scott Higginbotham before the hooker received a return pass and scampered over the line.
But the Reds still trailed 15-14 after Cooper missed the difficult conversion attempt.
A 10-minute stint in the sin-bin for deliberately slowing down play for Ben McCalman handed the advantage to the Reds but O'Connor then gave the impetus back to the visitors.
A stray pass from Cooper with the Reds attacking bounced back off Anthony Faingaa and the Force fly-half pounced on the loose ball before running 90 metres to touch down.
But the man advantage told and the Reds forced Hanson over. The conversion from Cooper put Queensland 21-20 ahead.
Cooper kicked against the post on full-time but the home side had done enough to win.