DAYS after that gripping night and the conversation is yet to change subject.
At least 1200 kilometres south of Suncorp Stadium amid rusted-on supporters that stared blankly into their TV while Queenslanders put forefingers silently on lips to request quiet.
But a search of social media minutes after the controversial final scoreline had calmer and sometimes impartial voices talking up conspiracy that was uttered out from the corner of the mouth of ACT Brumbies coach Dan McKellar in the pre-game discussion.
The ACT Brumbies led Queensland for all but 10 minutes early on after the hosts scored an initial penalty goal in the third minute of the Super Rugby AU final.
The ascendancy switched back to the reigning titleholders all through to the 86th minute.
That’s right, the finish of the game. Well and truly past regulation time when the referee’s final whistle is blown – for all intents and purposes – on or close to 80 minutes.
Among phase after phase of Reds’ bodies barging to the line, the resistance finally gave way after a suspected final surge had the ball near the line before popping out to the left to the hands of captain James O’Connor to cross for the winning try in a 19-16 triumphant.
It was the only Reds’ try all Saturday night against a Brumbies’ defence that bravely lasted what was only humanly possible on the back of repeat penalties and two men sinbinned.
“I thought when we held up the guy, there was no advantage, then there was a penalty,” McKellar said in the post-game press conference.
“That’s another crack. With 13 blokes, it became incredibly tough for us to hold them out.”
The aerial vision, commonly referred as Spidercam, had appeared to show a knock on from bullocking forward Taniela Tupou just one phase before O’Connor’s matchwinner.
Brumbies players pointed out that the ball came free and that Tupou never kept control of the ball during his run off a ruck, but the television match official cleared the incident.
“You’ve got to be quick! But certainly appears to squirt out to the right,” one tweeter wrote what echoed the thoughts of others on social media.
Less than 48 hours Rugby Australia cleared the decision of referee Nic Berry to not penalise Queensland and award the match, the final and back-to-back championships 16-12 to the Brumbies after citing “no compelling evidence”to overturn the decision.
It was explained Tupou was entitled to release the ball back when tackled, but if the ball came loose prior to him hitting the ground, it would have been a fair knock-on.
The Brumbies have been left privately seething about Berry’s appointment over McKellar’s earlier belief that Rugby Australia were intent on the Queenslanders succeeding in the final for the good of the game in the country.
That feeling carried over to comments moments after the loss.
“I can’t say too much, to be honest,” McKellar said.
“Just as long as everyone is accountable for their performances out there tonight.
“I know the players are and the coaches are. That’s my only hope.”
The Brumbies travel to Christchurch this week to face Canterbury Crusaders for the start of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman series.