Waratahs wing Alex Newsome believes the overarching praise of New Zealand Super Rugby sides needs to be pegged back, with the heroics of the Reds on the weekend instilling confidence in other Australian sides.
The Queenslanders and Super Rugby AU champions put the Chiefs to the sword in the first half of their clash in Townsville with a 33-3 advantage, laying the platform for a 40-34 victory and finally breaking Australia's duck in the transtasman competition.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Waratahs suffered a hefty 54-28 defeat at the hands of the Crusaders, continuing their winless 2021. After finishing last through eight games domestically, they are 0-3 to start the transtasman competition.
But Newsome told rugby.com.au the Reds' win over the Chiefs has spurred belief in camp, and shows what Australian sides can do when they get their tails up.
"We've just got to stop putting all these Kiwi sides on a pedestal and look at what the Reds did in that first half on Saturday night and look at what Izzy's [Perese] been doing to defences and just ripping into them," he said.
"When Australian sides are really confrontational and just backing themselves, you can just see what they can do.
"I think that first half from the Reds showed what we can do and obviously having the Chiefs in two weeks, we're looking closely.
"You got to give them credit…but everyone's just two arms, two legs and a heartbeat. Everyone's built the same."
While hope an Australian side can sneak into the final has reignited, the Reds have a long way to go. They currently sit 11 points off the second-place Hurricanes, who they need to beat convincingly as well as the Blues in their final two games with other results working in their favour.
For the Waratahs, they languish down in 9th on the ladder, only ahead of the Rebels on points difference. They round out their season with matches against the Highlanders [away] and the Chiefs [home], but their losing average of 23 points through three games suggests any scalp over a Kiwi side is highly unlikely.
In those three matches, they've averaged 55.3 points against - far and away the most out of the five Australian sides. Their 26-point defeat to the Crusaders resulted in another embarrassing team review.
"We've got guys being accountable in the reviews but it's too late then, isn't it. That's what's disappointing," Newsome said.
"There were some lazy moments around the ruck. Obviously, you saw in the first half there was quite a big wind and the Crusaders were running a lot of ball out of their territory and their speed of movement was much better than ours which was disappointing.
"We showed a bit in attack at the end but I guess that's what disappointing. The boys are up and about late in the game but we're letting each other down in the game."
The lowest number of wins the Waratahs have accumulated in a full Super Rugby season is three in 2007, delivering a winning rate of just 23 per cent. Even if the tables turn and they secure two wins to finish 2021, they will have won just 15 per cent of their matches this year.
The last time the Waratahs defeated a New Zealand side was March 2019.