Super Rugby is going to take longer to fix than anyone realised. But it can be fixed, by committing to next year's proposed format and Australia holding their nerve and desire to find ways to drag themselves up to New Zealand's standards rather than look for ways to drag their old foe down to theirs.
Super Rugby has been a masterclass in self-interested administration, where greed, ego and ambition killed what was once the greatest provincial competition in the world.
Ill-conceived expansion plans, disastrous formats and skewed ideas where losers could become winners to satisfy broadcasters all conspired to weaken Super Rugby to such an extent that Covid didn't even have to huff yet alone puff to blow the whole house down.
No one shed any tears last year when this bloated, confused and environmentally destructive version of Super Rugby was laid to rest by New Zealand's unilateral decision to free itself from the tyranny of group politics and begin the process of rebuilding a sustainable and workable competition that made both rugby and commercial sense.
The South Africans, Jaguares and Sunwolves were booted out to lower the carbon footprint and Moana Pasifika and Fiji Drua have been added to up the rugby horsepower and consumer appeal.
Gone are the daft conference formats and instead what has been proposed next year is a simple, lovable straight round-robin format involving 12 teams in largely the same time zone.
And yet, judging by what we have seen in the last two weeks where the gulf between New Zealand's five teams and Australia's has, if anything, grown in the last 18 months, Super Rugby next year is likely to be as lop-sided and predictable as it was in the last few pre-Covid years.
It is an indisputable fact that at the moment, Australia doesn't have the playing base to effectively populate five teams.
New Zealand sides are well enough stocked, that they can regularly stack their bench with men who have played international rugby whereas the Australian teams are having, once a few injuries strike, to throw into action men who have often not quite conquered club rugby.
As Blues coach Leon MacDonald rightly pointed out, that lack of experience and quality manifests itself in Australian teams being too regularly guilty of critical errors that relieve the pressure on their opponents.
And as the Australian sides are being reminded, tiny errors have big consequences against New Zealand's Super Rugby sides, who are quite brilliant at playing off turnover ball.
The last two weeks have been sobering and disheartening for the Australians, but they should not be viewed as a catalyst to start talking about restructuring Super Rugby next year.
The suggestions made by one journalist that Rugby Australia had failed to protect its teams this year by pitting the Reds and Brumbies against the Crusaders in consecutive weeks is the sort of defeatist thinking that can't be tolerated by those across the ditch.
There was a time when Australian teams relished being the underdog and cleverly plotting their way to victories against supposedly unbeatable New Zealand sides.
The Brumbies, after all, were founded as a rebel alliance almost – pieced together with the discarded players from the Reds and Waratahs, they came into Super Rugby with a chip on their shoulder and an anger to prove themselves.
That's surely what Australian sides once again need: a desire to face the best in New Zealand every week and to learn and evolve.
It will take time. Next year might see most of the Australian sides endure a tough old time.
The year after may be no different but the long-term goal has to, surely, be to keep fronting and battling to close the gap and re-learn the art of beating New Zealand's best.
It could be a painful and challenging process but the alternative of running around in their own backyard playing each other and falling further behind the rest of the world is not a real alternative.
Super Rugby worked brilliantly when it was first conceived as a 12-team format in 1996 played hard and fast as a round-robin.
What glued it together then was the relative quality of all the teams.
In any given year there would be the odd basket case, a real hopeless crew who for whatever reason couldn't get their act together, but it was a tough old business to win the other games.
That can be Super Rugby's future again, if the Australians are brave enough and bold enough to set their standards on emulating New Zealand rather than hiding from them.