Don't fear for the All Blacks' World Cup chances, fear for rugby and its ability to survive its own mad crusade to lose the very essence of what it is.
The All Blacks will be just fine in Japan. In the last three tests they have been an eclectic and unproductive mix of ill-discipline, poor individual execution and mild confusion, but they were much the same in the lead up to the 2011 and 2015 tournaments.
The rest of the world tends to get overly excited by these lapses.
But the All Blacks don't really do terminal decline. Despite the obvious issues with their game at the moment, they are not in a pit of despair looking ahead wondering how they can stop themselves from free-falling into oblivion.
There is frustration that they were so dumb in Perth as to concede so many needless penalties. There is frustration that so many one-on-one tackles were missed and the defence around the fringe of the ruck was guilty of pushing out too early and leaving space for Wallabies halfback Nic White to expertly exploit.
But frustration is good, because it is driven by the players' knowledge that they failed to perform to the level at which they know they can.
It's driven by the certainty they let themselves down; that they are not inherently dumb or unskilled or baffled by what they are trying to do and, while the portents of doom are gathering apace about the All Blacks' chances at the World Cup, there were enough signs that buried in the rubble is the blueprint for success.
The shape of their game can be seen through the compounding errors. It was possible to see the intent of picking Ardie Savea and Sam Cane in tandem – which is to blitz the breakdown, pinch turnovers and turn the game into an unstructured play-what-you-see festival.
The twin playmaker gamble seems increasingly likely to pay off if the All Blacks are more patient in their build-up.
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There is a long fix-it list, but there is no particularly daunting or unachievable task on it and a record loss one week can easily be a record win the next.
Test rugby regularly sees tectonic shifts in seemingly no time as evidenced in 2017 when South Africa lost the the All Blacks 57-0 in Albany then a few weeks later were downed by a single point in Cape Town.
Or in 2003 when the All Blacks put 50 points on the Wallabies in the Tri Nations, then lost at the same ground against the same team a few months later in the World Cup semifinal.
It takes so little for a team to suddenly click, just as it can take so little sometimes for them to fall apart.
If there are any creeping concerns that may prove harder to fix, the are the continued underwhelming work of Ben Smith then, of course, World Rugby's mission to build an impregnable case they are protecting players' heads at all costs even if it means rugby is stripped of is soul in the process.
Referee Jerome Garces followed World Rugby's guidelines and applied them as set out, but the contention is not the process he followed, but the fact he deduced Barrett had committed a shoulder charge to set off that process.
A shoulder charge? Really ... was that what it was? Did Barrett hammer into that ruck with intent to take Hooper's head off or could he just as conceivably been protecting his rib cage from having the Wallaby captain fall into it?
If it's debatable – and the fact even Wallabies coach Michael Cheika expressed sympathy for Barrett – then it is not obvious and the World Cup will be reduced to a farce if every contact to the head at every ruck is going to be slowed down and pored over.
Bodies fly into rucks and tackles at all sorts of heights and velocities, and defenders can't always react in time. Heads can't be protected entirely but they can be protected from deliberate and obvious foul play.
World Rugby is happy to let referees interpret every other law in the rule book as they see fit, but has opted to be militant to the point of ridiculous in being inflexible in the one area where empathy and judgement are imperative.
World Rugby is, supposedly, all about player welfare - which is paramount when there is a dubious collision in a Bledisloe Cup test but not so much if there is a bag of cash on the table that can only be collected if the players have to travel around the world to play extra games as was proposed in the governing body's League of Nations proposal.
The All Blacks were the victims of this almost arbitrary, militant obsession in Perth but every leading test coach knows that it could be their side who is the victim in Japan.
World Rugby may end up winning its PR war to prove it has adopted a non-negotiable stance in regard to the head, but it will be the mother of all Pyrrhic victories.