The game came three days after Wales lost the first Test to Australia in Brisbane and was four days before the vital second Test in Melbourne.
Howley had asked his players to give the squad some momentum and the win did just that.
"It was a job well done. To back up in the midweek after a Test game shows great spirit and character," said Howley.
"We took our chances well in the first half and were clinical. We lacked possession and territory in the second half, but we displayed the kind of defensive qualities we will need in the second Test at the weekend.
"The qualities we showed in our line speed and numbering up in defence were key in the second half. I'm delighted with the win.
"We've always said we wanted competition for places and once again the players have worn the Welsh jersey with pride and asked the coaches some questions. Justin Tipuric was outstanding and his ability to get on the ball, or stay off it, was terrific."
Tipuric got the honour of leading the team in the second half, making him the third Wales captain on the night after Ospreys team mates Alun Wyn Jones and Paul James had the armband before him.
Whether or not the back row man did enough to be considered for a start on Saturday is debatable, especially as the current Wales number seven is their captain, Sam Warburton.
But Howley and his fellow coaches will no doubt be aware that the two men used to play together in the back row for Wales Under 20, with Warburton at number eight.
"We have two packs who can go head to head and it is great to have some decisions to make in selection. They will be made on Thursday," said Howley.
Brumbies head coach Jake White, who will be linking up with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans this week to offer his advice and experience in the build up to the second Test, said he was proud of his team.
"We were tested at a higher level than usual against some better players. There was a lot to be positive about in the performance."
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