New-look Reds go back-to-back
UPDATE: FORMER Brisbane Broncos squad member Caleb Timu came of age as a winning Super Rugby factor on Saturday night with a rousing game for Brad Thorn's comeback kids.
The 20-14 victory over South Africa's Bulls was the first time the Queensland Reds have produced back-to-back wins since the 2014 season.
Momentum grows with such confidence but it also soars within games which was Saturday night's story at Suncorp Stadium when the home side went 17-0 over the final 56 minutes.
It was never that clearcut because the Bulls went on a rumble of pick-and-drives on full-time which may have broken the hearts of 11, 827 fans.
Replacement hooker Alex Mafi made the low tackle that jolted a knock-on from Springbok lock Lood de Jager just 6m out from the tryline. Relief.
There is some serious substance to this young, new-look Reds outfit and they needed to show it when down 14-3 midway through the first half.
No.8 Timu, 24, was excellent in just his fifth game for Reds, the career direction he took when leaving the Broncos Under-20s. He had 11 determined runs by half-time and scored the key strikeback try just before the break to get the Reds back in touch at 14-10.
"If you had told me that three games in we'd have wins over the Brumbies and Bulls I'd have been pretty happy," coach Brad Thorn said.
"Caleb was working constantly, not just running and with his big physical D (defence) but being able to go up for a key lineout and deliver the ball to the halfback which he has developed.
"There are a whole lot of projects out there and the team is one as well."
Standout prop Taniela Tupou backed up his big game against the Brumbies with another five-star effort.
He was at the core of the Reds' pounding scrum dominance, made a tackle in cover on a winger and slipped the no-look short pass to put Timu over.
Centre Samu Kerevi took over as captain when prop James Slipper left the field early in the second half.
Kerevi was mighty. His 148 running metres came with 10 tackle busts and 11 tackles plus the blood pouring from a facial cut when he was grimly defending on full-time.
Rookie winger Filipo Daugunu made a misread in defence when Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant dashed over after four minutes.
He more than made up for it by setting up the winning try, a superb 60m strike from a kick return.
His initial hesitancy turned into an asset because he split two tacklers and the spark was created for a fine Aidan Toua try.
Chris Feauai-Sautia's excellent ability to break away from the first defender played a strong part while the knack to force penalties at the tackle was pulled off at key times by prop JP Smith, Liam Wright and Tupou.
In the first half, when Kerevi smashed winger Duncan Matthews in midfield the pro-Reds crowd roared as if expecting the old Bulls' DNA to show through with a conservative, steadying play.
Instead, there was a rapid regrouping, passing inter-play and halfback Riaan Warner scoring 60m downfield.
The Reds needed to hold their nerve and they did.
QUEENSLAND REDS 20 (Caleb Timu, Aidan Toua tries James Tuttle 2 cons Jono Lance, Tuttle pens) BULLS 14 (Warrick Gelant, Andre Riaan Warner tries Handre Pollard 2 cons) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Jamie Nutbrown. Crowd: 11,827