Well there we have it Brumbies fans. A look at how 2014 could shape.
And it would appear the tactics are again to stay in the grind.
But the first game gitters were well and truly alive for the Brumbies who went down 27-17 in an at times lazy showing from the ACT.
The new Larkham-Fisher coaching partnership was on display for the first time, and it is evident how the forwards and backs will work interchangeably.
Employed also was a less conservative mindset, and Brumbies director of Rugby Laurie Fisher said despite the result he was happy with how his team attacked.
He said some lazy mistakes at key moments was the only thing the change next week.
“The feeling out there was that we were close, and in the end we just weren’t good enough, so next week will be different, and different decisions will be made,” he said.
Brumbies centre Patt McCabe again found himself injured in a brutal contest where dominance over the breakdown would give either side victory.
Overall it was a reasonably constructed performance by the Brumbies, without anyone standing out, but lapses in concentration, particularly in defence, hurt the home side.
As expected, halves Nic White and Matt Toomua looked to use attacking weapons Joe Tomane and Henry Speight on the wings, and initially this appeared to have an avail.
But the Reds played very tough rugby, and their defence proved difficult to penetrate, which at the moment leaves a question mark as to whether the Brumbies will still need to employ “back to basics” tactics used by former coach Jake White to slow play down.
“We need to make sure we’re clinical for 80 and you just cant have any moments when you’re just ‘off’,” said skipper Ben Mowen.
“We probably had 30-40 seconds [stints] of where your mind isn’t totally on the job, and those windows were enough to put the Reds over the line.”
It was in some ways a confusing performance from the home side, which spent the first quarter of the game throwing the ball around and looking to expose the edges.
It was evident the first attempt of the new coaching combination aimed at having the forwards and backs work in compliment.
They lacked in defence through the middle though and the Reds’ two tries put them back on the back foot.
The second half proved much the same, with the Brumbies crawling their way to within three points.
Fullback Jesse Mogg was able to produce the try that brought his side momentum again, and most of the second half was played in Queensland’s half.
And while the Brumbies trailed by just 17-20 until the final three minutes, a double knock-on and a lack of urgency allowed the Reds a late final blow.
There was a distinction in parts of the contest where the Brumbies would hold back before chancing their arm again, and this could be reminiscent of what White had implemented.
When commenting on the numerous times he declined to take a penalty goal attempt, Mowen said “I just felt that we had some really good momentum, and sometimes they’re tough calls to make.”
While the 2013 more conservative Brumbies outfit would likely have taken most penalty goal opportunities, Mowen said there was not a total shift in mindset, but just happened to make different decisions during the moments.
These correct decisions will be tested next Saturday in Perth when the side take on the Western Force.
Queensland Reds 27 (Aiden Toua, Lachie Turner, Chris Feauai-Sautia tries; Quade Cooper 3 cons, 3 pens) bt ACT Brumbies 17 (Jesse Mogg try, 4 pens; Nic White White pen) at GIO Stadium, Canberra. Crowd: 13,670. Referee: James Leckie.