Ten years later, the similarities simply cannot be ignored.
During the week, 2011 Queensland Reds legends Will Genia and Quade Cooper said the comparisons were right and the 2021 promotion highlighted this by book an AU Super Rugby Grand Final at home by beating the Brumbies.
Remarkably, the 24-22 win was the same score as this year’s previous win over the defending champions in Canberra, as the Reds came back in force again on the backs of the cool leadership of James O’Connor and the take of Jordan Petaia.
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Something really special is brewing at Ballymore and Suncorp Stadium and even hard-nosed coach Brad Thorn allowed himself to admit that by inspecting the arena he had once dominated as a runner of the Broncos and Queensland league.
“It’s really cool, I’m really proud,” Thorn told Stan Sport.
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“We have 20,000 here tonight, it was a good game and they will be wearing this Queensland jersey at home.
“If you think of the big Origin or Queensland games, these are the ones you come back to and just find a way to get the job done.”
Thorn, of course, was on the losing side for once at Suncorp Stadium in 2011 when the Reds beat his Crusaders in one of Super Rugby’s grand finals.
After a few terrible years, the Brisbane rugby buzz is back and Thorn can feel the vibes of 2011 returning.
“52,000. So good,” Thorn said of Queensland’s first and only Super Rugby title, before turning to Australia’s May 8 grand final.
“I think the crowd will be even bigger (than Saturday night) and that they will enjoy their rugby.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen them hanging around like this (after the game).
“That’s when you know with a team – how long the crowd hangs out.
“A lot of times they just go but that’s the connection (with the fans) that (Michael Cheika) is talking about.
“They enjoyed what they saw on both sides, they were entertained, they loved what they saw in the brown jersey.
“They know the guys play for each other and are the pride of the state.”
With the top spot locked, the Reds will enjoy their week off.
The Brumbies will now face the Melbourne Rebels or Western Force in the qualifying final with two regular season rounds remaining to solve this puzzle.
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Standout Reds mainstay Taniela Tupou appeared in full-time tears as the scale of the club’s turnaround kicked in.
“I haven’t really played here with that many spectators,” Tupou told Stan Sport.
“I was just saying I was here when the Reds were struggling and we’re getting there slowly. It’s great and we want to keep growing.
“A big home final, we’ll see our whole family watching and our people from Queensland coming to support us. It’s special.”
It could have been so different for the Reds.
In time, winger Filipo Daugunu failed to find contact with a kick that would have ended the game as Thorn and his coaching staff watched in horror.
“Oh my God,” Thorn said when Drew Mitchell reminded him of the room.
“(Attack Coach) Jim McKay doesn’t have much hair and what was left he lost.
“It must have been a wrong kick there, but they got the job done.”
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Daugunu will be part of the Red contingent to reunite now for 40 players, three-day Wallabies camp on the Gold Coast.
Dave Rennie’s Shadow Test team will surely be filled with Reds and Brumbies who are clearly the two best teams in Australia.
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