The Brumbies are off the mark for the Super W season, triumphing 27-19 in a back-and-forth clash with the Western Force.
Both sides entered the game winless but the Brumbies' experience saw them through against an energetic Force lineup, scoring four tries to three at Canberra's Viking Park on Sunday. Brumbies captain Rebecca Smyth was relieved her side got the breakthrough.
"It was such a tough game out there," said Smyth. "They were physically the toughest team that we have played this whole competition.
"Our girls just stuck in there and we managed to finally get away and I'm really proud of them.
"I thought everyone that was on the park today played really well ... everyone that came on just played so well."
The Brumbies opened the scoring via a penalty try, with Force's Sera Ah-Sam adjudged to have collapsed a maul as the hosts looked set to cross for a try on 10 minutes.
Even with Ah-Sam in the sin bin, the Force dug in and made most of the play without scoring, while they finally made some dominance count through Turiti-Kapuarei Galiki, who danced through Brumbies defenders to level things up at 7-7.
But the Brumbies came back strongly as Ash Hewson kicked a penalty on 35 minutes, before a Grace Kemp pick-and-go try made it 15-7 on halftime.
The lead was stretched immediately after the break when Smyth peeled off a Brumbies scrum and scored.
Just as the hosts looked to be sneaking away Zakiya Kereopa lunged for the corner and found it for the Force.
Down 20-12, the Force conceded next when Lillyann Mason-Spice who cut through their line to make it 27-12, copping a knee to the face as she scored.
The Force wouldn't quit and Brooke Mason crashed through multiple defenders and allowed Madeline Putz to score, before the Brumbies saw the game out with their poise.
The Brumbies cemented fourth on the table with one game remaining, but won't play finals with just the top three to progress.
Force skipper Trilleen Pomare lamented the fact her side had not had more possession, despite putting up their highest points total of the season.
"It's not the result we were after today, the girls showed some fight right to the last second of the game," she said.
"We were still trying to come out from our try line and still trying to have a crack but we just couldn't convert it to points.
"We need ball-in-hand, we know what we can do but we just haven't been able to show it."