The Reds beat the Rebels 37-23 in a belter at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
The game twisted and turned as both sides took leads, only for the other to level and go ahead.
Jono Lance scored and converted his own try with five minutes remaining to seal a hard-fought derby win.
The Reds led 24-17 at the break, clawing back a bizarre deficit.
Tetera Faulkner, returning after a long layoff, had a nightmare.
He conceded the penalty try and was yellow carded at the end of the first-half for continuously collapsing the scrum.
The seven-point lead quickly became a seven-point deficit for the Queenslanders.
Two tries in four minutes from Angus Cottrell and Jack Maddocks put the visitors in front.
Taniela Tupou had Faulkner on ice, delivering pain with every engagement.
Maddocks had his kick charged down by Izack Rodda as the Rebels levelled.
Filipo Daugunu scored after Faulkner was sin-binned, to give the Reds the lead at halftime.
The Rebels fought back after the break with two penalties from Reece Hodge to make it a one-point ball-game.
But Hodge missed a penalty with Duncan Paia’aua in the bin and the Rebels did not score again, instead, Lance produced the dagger.
The scores were level at 3-all with both teams trying to get a foothold or some momentum.
It was played at a slow pace and filled with reset scrums, however, the match came to life in a bizarre eight-minute spell.
The home team had the visitors under the pump but were wasteful with ball-in-hand.
Instead, Queensland, who have been superb in the scrum, opted for the set-piece rather than the points or lineout.
Faulkner, who had been penalised earlier, was the target.
Penalty after penalty was awarded before referee Paul Williams intervened and ran under the posts.
Before Faulkner could dust himself off, or the Reds pack rub heads and celebrate, the Rebels were off, taking a quick restart with nobody in front of them except some medical staff.
The ball rolled into touch and from there, the Rebels levelled.
Maddocks, Michael Ruru and Hodge combined for Angus Cottrell’s score in the corner after superb handling and running by the backs.
It was then 10-17, four minutes’ later.
Maddocks, involved again, raced away from Scott Higginbotham and Kane Douglas for the Rebels’ second try.
Ruru, with four Reds forwards in front, drew the defenders and put the winger in the hole. He could not be caught.
Strangely, though, instead of kicking on, Dave Wessels’ men could not break the advantage line, despite lots of possession, and all they found was a red wall or passes into touch.
Queensland mount comeback.
In the build-up to Rodda’s score, Tupou, having the game of his life, blindsided Ruru with a crunching hit.
It led to some scrambling by the Rebels and Maddocks’ brain-freeze.
His attempted clearance was hit too low and the big lock-forward easily had the reach, knocking the ball forward, gathering and scoring under the posts a minute before halftime.
That was not the end of the half.
Hodge body-checked Moses Sorovi, allowing Lance to kick the penalty to the Rebels 5m.
The game then descended into farce and fascination.
Scrum-penalty after scrum-penalty was awarded against Faulkner. His tormentor kept hammering him.
On the occasion that he did not buckle to Topou, the Reds bulldozed the Rebels.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa thought he had scored only for the TMO to over-rule because of offsides from his captain’s boot.
Another, scrum, then a brawl after Mr Williams awarded a penalty to the Rebels by accident. He apologised but only after the dust settled.
Faulkner received his marching orders, and to be fair, he must have been happy to be leaving the field.
With Maddocks joining the scrum, there was space on the right wing.
Higginbotham, having a beast of a derby, picked up, broke blind and put Daugunu away on a silver platter in the corner for a halftime lead.
Stodgy after the break.
The second stanza did not live up to the last.
The Rebels had the territory and possession but could breach Brad Thorn’s defence.
The Reds were defiant.
Hodge kicked two penalties – one an audacious drop-goal after the ball fell off the tee twice – to make it 24-23, however, he missed with a shot at goal to give his side a slender lead.
It was costly because the Reds dug deep and went up a level as the game entered the last 10 minutes.
The hosts had not conceded a point while Duncan Paia’aua was in the bin.
This set them up for the victory.
Lance kicked two penalties either side of his converted try, which came from some Jordan Petaia magic.
Petaia sold a dummy, took two tacklers away and offloaded to the fullback, whose timing and angled run, was perfect: game over.
Final score: Reds 37 (24) Rebels 23 (17)
Tries – Penalty try, Rodda, Daugunu, Lance
Pen – Lance (3)
Con – Lance (3)
Cards – Paia’aua (Yellow, 57′)
Tries – Cottrell, Maddocks
Pen – Hodge (3)
Con – Hodge (2)
Cards – Faulkner (Yellow, 44′)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: Ian Smith
Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Liam Wright, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Jean-Pierre Smith.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Jayden Ngamanu.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English (captain), 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements:16 Nathan Charles, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Sefa Naivalu.