When the Western Force take the field against Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, it will be nine years and one week since three of their players helped the Reds reach the pinnacle of Super Rugby.
When Queensland defeated the Crusaders to win the 2011 championship, Jono Lance was the starting fullback, Greg Holmes started in the front row, and the Force captain, Ian Prior, was the reserve halfback.
The trio headline a strong contingent of local talent now wearing royal blue, many of whom will be out to prove a point to the franchise which overlooked them or cast them aside after a brief flirtation.
Add former Reds and Wallabies No.9, Nick Frisby, and there is no less than 15 members of the Western Force squad who have either played for the Reds or come through the Queensland club and school pathways, making Friday’s match at Suncorp a virtual home game.
Reds scrumhalf, Tate McDermott is well aware this week’s opposition will have an axe to grind.
“They’ll be up for the game, no doubt about it” he said.
“They’ll come out firing, like they did against the Waratahs.
“I think this week they’ll put together a more complete performance, so we’ve got to be on top of our game, and, like I said, when they give us those opportunities, we need to be ready to take them.”
While the Force lost their first Super Rugby match in three years, 23-14 to New South Wales, the Reds remain undefeated in the revamped Super Rugby comp, after a win and a draw in the opening two rounds.
“This team, we’re learning how to win,” McDermott said.
“Like on the weekend, we didn’t win but we’re starting to close them out, find ways to win or find ways to put ourselves in a position to win.
“It’s massive for this group that we’re stringing together a few performances that get points on the board, and the only way to travel is up for us.”
The Reds are hoping their long-suffering fan base is taking notice.
As the only Brisbane-based sporting team playing in the river city this weekend, they’ve put the call out for a strong crowd.
“I think we’re aiming for 15,000 and hopefully we get that number, but we’ve got to be playing good footy,” he conceded.
“For far too long, we’ve let our fans down.
“We’ve still got a bit of redemption to go but hopefully we’re starting to give them something to cheer about.”