What a difference three days makes.
After the walkover victory over the Western Force, who did not see the value in illuminating their moribund season by putting a competitive side out against the Lions, the traditional tour format was questioned - and justifiably so.
Is it even worth playing a series of tour games if the touring sides do not view the Lions as a scalp worth having?
A rainy Saturday night in Brisbane provided the answer as over 50,000 packed into Suncorp Stadium, at least two-thirds of which were supporting the home team, and the Lions were given a real test by a proud club before running out 10-point victors.
And after the tourists, fielding a team a long way from the first Test XV, were outscored two-tries-to-one, the Queensland Courier Mail’s rugby writer Jim Tucker quipped: “If the British and Irish Lions don't start fielding their best side we'll call off their next visit to Australia.”
The game meant something. Certainly to the Reds’ Wallabies, not allowed to play, who lost their voices cheerleading from the touchline. Scrum-half Will Genia even acted as a waterboy (insert height joke here).
As importantly, it was fun.
Quade Cooper was true to the template sent down by Reds boss Ewen Mackenzie, throwing everything at the Lions, taking tap penalties at nearly every opportunity, including deep in his own 22.
When a no-look pass look pass close to his own try-line evaded intended target Ben Lucas and would have resulted in a try if Jonathan Davies had controlled his kick, Robbie Deans will have felt further vindication for not selecting the man most likely to create a Campese moment and cost the Wallabies this series.
The spectacle will be the poorer without him though.
Other than the loss of Tommy Bowe to a broken hand, there were not too many pointers for the Tests, with the forwards comfortably dominating the Reds opposition decimated by national call-ups.
What the game did was put much-needed mileage in the legs of the team against a side who Warren Gatland said “came out 100 miles per hour in the first 20 minutes.”
As competitive as the match was, it took a less-heralded Red, soon on his way to the Western Force, Luke Morahan to stop the Lions pulling away in the first half.
The winger’s scintillating 70-yard try gave his side the lead and he denied two Lions tries with last-gasp tackles of Alex Cuthbert and Owen Farrell, as well as an assist on another near miss when Sam Warburton was held up over the line.
The Lions' star man George North set up Farrell and Warburton’s near misses with bursting runs and will now be inked in as one of the wingers for the first Test on the 22nd.
Of course the downside of not playing bruise-free rugby is the increased likelihood of injury and two Reds (Beau Robinson and Ben Lucas) were stretchered off for the field and, frustratingly for the Lions, the exciting Bowe joins Gethin Jenkins and Cian Healy on the casualties list though he hopes to be back for the end of the tour.
The atmosphere in the ground was passionate, though the disparate groupings of Lions fans - something that should be different in the Tests - meant there was no concerted chanting.
It wasn’t until the post-game celebrations, when bars on nearby Caxton Street turned into the reverse of the Shepherd’s Bush Walkabout (with Robbie Williams and Oasis subbing for Midnight Oil and Men at Work), that the Lions chant went up, drowning out Beyonce’s forlorn call to the, admittedly heavily outnumbered, available women in attendance.
Tuesday sees the Combined-Country match where six Super Rugby players with “bush backgrounds” join with club players from New South Wales and Queensland in Newcastle.
It will not be the harshest test for the side led by Brian O’Driscoll but is a must-stop for the more cultured travelling fans (read: those not on Caxton Street post-game) who will take the opportunity to spend a few days at the Hunter Valley wine region.
Afterwards it is down to Sydney, where you will hope the Reds’ rivals the Waratahs, although less strong due to more Wallabies inclusions, will look to match the benchmark laid down and provide the Lions with another strong challenge.