They started the year as favourites for the NRL premiership, but Wests Tigers will almost certainly start their Mad Monday celebrations next week after going down 20-44 to the Sydney Roosters yesterday.
Requiring a win to move above Brisbane into eighth spot, Tim Sheens' side now need to topple second-placed Melbourne at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday and hope lowly Penrith beat the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium 24 hours earlier to have any hope of playing in the finals.
A hat-trick from giant wing Daniel Tupou, in only his second NRL game, laid the foundations for the win as Brian Smith's side marked Anthony Minichiello's 250th game in style by running in eight tries.
The Tigers, who were without skipper Robbie Farah who had a broken hand, were never at the races in the first half as the Roosters opened up a 26-0 lead by the break - their highest-scoring opening period since round 18 in 2008.
Frank-Paul Nuuausala opened the floodgates in the 13th minute before Tupou grabbed his first, hauling in a Braith Anasta kick to the corner and brilliantly putting the ball down.
Tim Moltzen then booted the kick-off out on the full and from the resulting penalty, Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored in the right corner to leave the Tigers shellshocked. Young centre Tautau Moga and Tupou went over before the interval to stretch the advantage further for the hosts, with Anasta, playing his final home game before joining the Tigers next year, kicking three goals.
The second half started in a similar fashion with Mitchell Pearce finishing off a move that had a suspicion of obstruction about it after he ran behind decoy runner Minichiello, to score and end the game as a contest.
Benji Marshall was put on report for a high shot on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Meanwhile, South Sydney superstar Greg Inglis issued an ominous warning ahead of the finals as he spearheaded a 38-6 win over Parramatta which handed the Eels their first wooden spoon in 40 years.
The Rabbitohs stayed on track for an all-important top four finish with the seven tries to one flogging.
Inglis was a menace every time he touched the ball, scoring two tries and providing the final pass for another three while also delighting the Rabbitohs faithful when he sent former Bunny Chris Sandow flying after an ill-advised shoulder charge.
Penrith's win over Gold Coast on Saturday night confirmed the Eels will finish last for the first time since 1972.