Thorn praised the “perfect attack” that surprised everyone in one of “the top two wins of his tenure”.

When Brad Thorn lined up his team midweek to play the undefeated Chiefs at the top of the table, many saw the eight changes as a kind of capitulation, a white flag in the face of a red-hot host and a nod to 10 years without success Visit beyond the moat.

After Thorn’s plucky side blew the Reds’ 10-year-old New Zealand hoodoo away with a defensive display of undeniable panache and tenacity – 27 stages and two penalty advantages to bring the game to the ice in the 84th minute – Thorn was picked up for a masterstroke at the selection celebrated.

“The Queensland Reds have accomplished a mission,” former wallaby Justin Harrison told Stan Sport.

“Brad Thorn started this team. He chose a different looking team and that gave the whole team energy.

“You surprised us all. There is no doubt that we thought this was a near impossible task. All except the red players.

“This is now a team that unites each other. It was a perfect storm to create a lot of animosity in the team – to weld them together and bring them together when they’re under pressure. Tonight is an example of how a young team can come together.”

The obituaries of Thorn’s erratic rule in Red country are already in the works, but in his final days he achieved what Morgan Turinui described as the second-best result of his tenure.

“Oh, a lot of people have praised the Reds, including me,” said Turinui. “What happens next year, who will be the next coach?

“This is one of the two most important wins of Brad Thorn’s tenure as head coach. Happy birthday to him. He won the Super Rugby AU final which is spot on.

“This is huge – for the first time in 10 years in New Zealand against the undefeated leaders of the competition. How good is that?”

The Reds last won the Super Rugby title in 2011 and finished sixth with Friday’s win, ahead of the Waratahs, who will regain the lead if they beat the Rebels on Saturday night. A win can’t erase years of pain – but a first win on New Zealand soil in 10 years against a New Zealand team needs to be celebrated. And it’s not just for the Reds – all Australian super rugby fans will feel a glimmer of hope. One hoodoo down – could Bledisloe be next?

“It was a big fall for the Reds fans,” said Turinui. “The Ewen McKenzie era was built to last and has just strayed in recent years. As a playing group, you can secure a win like this.”

The players couldn’t believe it when referee Paul Williams blew the final whistle. They jumped and screamed like they won the whole damn thing.

“It’s incredible. We’ve had a pretty bad season so I came here and put on a show… I’m just so proud of the boys,” said skipper Tate McDermott, who was great. Eddie Jones will have been delighted to see how hard the young Scrum half was on the home stretch.

“We said to be brave but we were obviously big underdogs and a bad result last week means everything.” It gives us new life.

“We always just lacked the finishing touch. It was a bloody Achilles’ heel for us. Tonight we put it away. The guys kicked really well and we defended like a pack of dogs. So yeah man. I am so proud.”

Thorn also used the word ‘proud’, but also a more important one – if the Reds want to turn this from a one-night stand into something more meaningful and enduring

“Hopefully it means momentum,” Thorn said. “We were very disappointed with the Waratahs’ game. I know they were missing players (including Brad Weber and Sam Cane), we also had players who were missing.”

He was asked what part of his experience had been helpful to his team, a team lacking key people.

“Probably just the experience of showing up for battle,” Thorn said.

The Reds' Liam Wright celebrates with head coach Brad Thorn during the Super Rugby Pacific Round 12 game between the Chiefs and Queensland Reds at Yarrow Stadium on May 12, 2023 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. (Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

Reds’ Liam Wright celebrates with head coach Brad Thorn (Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

“Of course you have your plan and you have to be clinical. We knew from the first minute to the 80th they were going to be dangerous.

“But it’s about loving the fight and feeling something in you when you participate in games like this.”

Combat was the theme Fraser McReight took up.

“Super super proud,” McReight said. “It’s something we’ve been building on for a couple of weeks now to see it finally get finished when we probably needed it the most was really gratifying.” All the boys so excited to see who they are — that means so much to the group.”

He was asked about the 10 years without a win. Had they discussed it the week before? To be honest it seemed redundant.

“I think probably everyone is familiar with the situation that’s happened over the last few years,” McReight said.

“We had nothing to lose. The Chiefs are undefeated so they had all the power and we didn’t really matter – people would write us off. It was just really nice to see some Queensland fights.” Thorn praised the "perfect attack" that surprised everyone in one of "the top two wins of his tenure".

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