The Rebels held on despite a second-half red card to defeat Western Force 10-7 and claim their first win of the Super Rugby AU season.
Two narrow losses, including a heartbreaking defeat to the Brumbies last time out when Ryan Lonergan scored after the final siren, meant they came into the contest second bottom in the standings.
Force, meanwhile, had enjoyed an upset win over the Waratahs but could not record back-to-back-victories on Friday and have now been overtaken by the Rebels.
A try from Lachie Anderson, who crossed down the right wing after a patient team move, was the only score of the first half as the Rebels went into the interval with a five-point advantage.
When a superb burst from Marika Koroibete set up Joe Powell to cross for the Rebels just after the hour mark, it looked like it was game over.
But there was a frantic final 11 minutes, which began when Jack McGregor darted over in the corner for the home side after collecting a loose ball, with Ian Prior converting to cut the gap to three.
Rebels lock Ross Haylett-Petty was then promptly sent off for a high and direct hit on Tomas Lezana.
Force threw everything at the visitors in the final stages but, having spurned the chance to kick a late penalty and level the contest, they could not find a way over the line.