The Brumbies have secured bragging rights for another year after denying the Queensland Reds 28-23 in the inaugural Super Rugby AU final in Canberra.
Tries to fullback Tom Banks, winger Andy Muirhead and hooker Folau Faingaa and a 13-point goalkicking haul from five-eighth Noah Lolesio were enough for the Brumbies on Saturday night.
It wasn't the silverware they set out for before COVID-19 shut down Super Rugby proper in March, but it was nevertheless the Brumbies' first championship since 2004.
Coach Dan McKellar could be excused for expecting the Brumbies to be rewarded with a healthy representation in the Wallabies side for next month's two Bledisloe Cup battles with the All Blacks in New Zealand.
The Brumbies had been Australia's Super Rugby conference champions in three of the past four years before dominating the 10-round domestic series in 2020.
Queensland had hoped to assert their dominance at scrum time, and they did early, as the two sides traded penalty goals in the opening 15 minutes.
But it was the Brumbies who bagged the first try of the night through another familiar set-piece source - their deadly driving maul.
Faingaa was once again the beneficiary.
When a jinking Lolesio, recalled in somewhat of a final gamble after two months out injured, combined with Muirhead for the Brumbies' second try and a 15-3 lead, the Reds - without a win in Canberra for six years - could have dropped their heads.
Instead, teenage sensation Jordan Petaia sparked a fightback with a weaving 30-metre run and flick pass to put Reds No. 8 Harry Wilson over next to the posts.
James O'Connor's conversion and second penalty goal after the halftime siren left the visitors trailing by only two points at the break.
In a blow, though, Petaia failed to emerge for the second half, a leg injury rubbing the winger out of the game.
Worse was to follow for the Reds, with forward enforcer Lukhan Salakai-Loto forced off with concussion just three minutes into the second half.
With the Reds reeling, the Brumbies shifted up a gear.
Banks powered over for their third try, Lolesio converted, then slotted a drop goal and another second penalty and suddenly the minor premiers had skipped out to a 28-13 lead.
Another O'Connor penalty and a contentious try to lock Angus Blyth in the 64th minute, after the TMO took an age to decide Reds halfback Tate McDermott hadn't knocked on in the lead-up, reduced the deficit to five points.
Despite an anxious final 15 minutes, the Brumbies hung on to grab the spoils.
"It was a huge effort from the boys," said jubilant skipper Allan Alaalatoa.
"I've got to give credit to the Reds; they were always going to come back in the second half and they were going to make it hard for us.
"I'm really proud of the boys that we closed out the game there."
Queensland captain Liam Wright was gutted but gracious in defeat.
"Congratulations to the Brumbies, you've been a class outfit all year," he said.
"We shot ourselves in the foot. Our ill-discipline was very costly.
"But there was a lot of fight. We'll be back."