A James Horwill red card helped the Melbourne Rebels crack their first home win of the Super Rugby season with a 23-15 victory over the Queensland Reds.
With Horwill sent off in the 20th minute for an alleged swinging arm in a tackle on prop Paul Alo-Emile, the Rebels took advantage of the tiring visitors to break through for a hard-earned win.
Compounding the misery for the Reds, they lost star five-eighth Quade Cooper in the 54th minute with a shoulder injury.
Despite having 68 per cent of possession, Melbourne struggled to wrap up the match and were unable to take the lead until the 65th minute, with the teams locked at 15-15 at halftime.
They did so through a superb team try with halfback Nic Stirzaker collecting the final honours.
Before the loss of Horwill, the Reds – who had only managed one victory this season – looked in fine form as they raced to a 12-3 lead with the former Wallabies’ skipper and Jake Schatz both scoring early tries.
Will Genia, who earlier on Friday confirmed he had signed a three-year deal to play with French club Stade Francais after October’s Rugby World Cup, looked sharp with his darting runs causing headaches for the Rebels.
But two minutes after Horwill’s departure, the momentum shifted and Melbourne scored with lock Lopeti Timani driving over after a lineout.
Cooper added a 28th-minute penalty before Rebels winger Tom English dotted down for his team’s second try, catching the Reds short out side.
Mike Harris missed the conversion but Cooper was off target with two penalty strikes for the halftime deadlock.
The home side looked like they had hit the lead 14 minutes into the second stanza through replacement back-rower Jordy Reid, but for a questionable forward pass call from the Television Match Official George Ayoub.