Reds vice captain and double try scorer Ben Tapuai said that their back row lifted them to their 25-17 victory over the Waratahs.
Tapuai took over the Reds captaincy in the second half after interim captain James Slipper suffered a concussion.
Slipper took over the captaincy for last week and this week while James Horwill is injured.
The Reds were also without former captain Will Genia was who water boy for the match and only expected back from injury in a month.
The Queenslanders raced to a 17-3 lead before the crumbled and let the Waratahs draw level through two converted tries.
"They were unbelievable," said Tapuai after the match.
"It was a big ask for the young guys to step up, but they did it today and got us over the line."
"We're not quite there, but we will take that result."
Waratahs captain Dave Dennis said his team had given the Reds too much ball.
"Just too much turnover," he said.
"You can't give a team like the Reds that much loose possession and we were chasing our tail from the start."