The Reds proved they were the southern hemisphere's best provincial side by winning the Super Rugby title in 2011 and, although shorn of seven Wallabies, will field a side boasting 87 test caps marshalled, and possibly captained, by Quade Cooper.
Reds coach and former test prop Ewen McKenzie has, in contrast to the Force, put out the best side available to him and promised the tourists something a little bit different with flyhalf Cooper playing an integral role.
"You are not going to beat them playing an orthodox game," McKenzie told reporters this week. "And someone like Quade, you can't get a better player to do that."
For McKenzie, who has announced this will be his last season with the Reds, it will be a chance of a prestigious scalp to help press his claim to succeed Robbie Deans when the Wallabies coach's contract is up at the end of the year.
For Cooper, it is last chance to prove to Deans that he should under no circumstances consider going into the three-test series against the Lions without his mercurial talent.
Having recovered from a knee problem, tour skipper Sam Warburton will make his Lions debut in an imposing all-Welsh back row along with Toby Faletau and Dan Lydiate.
That will fully test Cooper's defensive skills which worry Deans so much even if Warburton was more concerned about what is going to come the other way.
"(Cooper) is an outstanding player with great footwork and I'm sure he'll pose a different threat at 10 than what we've faced in the last two weeks," Warburton said in Brisbane on Thursday.
"He'll definitely be an attacking threat and that's what you want to test your defence."
Opposing Cooper will be England's Owen Farrell, who may not get that many more chances to press his own claims for the Lions test shirt.
Ireland's Jonny Sexton has looked slightly the better of the two flyhalves so far and fullback Leigh Halfpenny's flawless kicking display in Perth makes the Englishman's own skill in that department a little less valuable.
Wallabies Ben Tapuai and tackling machine Anthony Faingaa should have a busy evening against the experimental Lions centres of Manu Tuilagi and Jonathan Davies but the tourists should be wary of the pace of Reds wingers "Rocket" Rod Davies and Luke Morahan.
There is plenty of what Australians like to call "mongrel" in the Reds pack even in the absence of Wallabies skipper James Horwill but there is unlikely to be a repeat of the thuggery of 1989 when the Queensland pack tramped all over centre Mike Hall.
The Lions got away with a 19-15 victory at Ballymore that year and won 42-8 in 2001 but Queensland famously triumphed on the first match of the 1971 tour against a Lions party that went on to win a series against the All Blacks.
The absence of the seven Wallabies, in particular scrumhalf Will Genia, at Deans's behest make another upset unlikely but the Reds will certainly give it a good go in front of what looks like being a bumper crowd at Lang Park.
"We've got the venue. We've got a full house so we have the circumstances we like and we've got a quality opposition in front of us, and we play our best football against the best teams, so all the ingredients are there for us to play well," McKenzie said on Thursday.
Reds: 15-Ben Lucas, 14-Rod Davies, 13-Ben Tapuai, 12-Anthony Faingaa, 11-Luke Morahan, 10-Quade Cooper, 9-Nick Frisby, 8-Jake Schatz, 7-Beau Robinson, 6-Eddie Quirk, 5-Ed O'Donoghue, 4-Adam Wallace-Harrison, 3-Greg Holmes, 2-James Hanson, 1-Ben Daley
Replacements: 16-Albert Anae 17-Sam Denny, 18-Jono Owen, 19-Radike Samo, 20-Jarrad Butler, 21-Jono Lance, 22-Mike Harris, 23-Dom Shipperley
Lions: 15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Manu Tuilagi, 12-Jonathan Davies, 11-Tommy Bowe, 10-Owen Farrell, 9-Ben Youngs, 8-Toby Faletau, 7-Sam Warburton (captain), 6-Dan Lydiate, 5-Geoff Parling, 4-Richie Gray, 3-Matt Stevens, 2-Tom Youngs, 1-Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16-Richard Hibbard, 17-Mako Vunipola, 18-Adam Jones, 19-Paul O'Connell, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Conor Murray, 22-Jonny Sexton, 23-George North.
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)