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Reds look for perfect storm to finish in Super finals contention

Finals dreaming ... a perfect win over the Waratahs may still not be enough to get the Reds to the finals.

Finals dreaming ... a perfect win over the Waratahs may still not be enough to get the Reds to the finals. Photo: Getty Images

TEAMS spend season upon season chasing the ''perfect game''; a night where everything touched turns to solid gold and moments of blind luck masquerade as pure genius.

Unfortunately for the Queensland Reds, even if they do attain a state of rugby bliss against a state they love to beat more than any other - NSW - it might not be enough to earn them a place in the Super Rugby finals.

Beating the Waratahs is generally reward in itself for the Reds and there's rarely a game that doesn't provide a talking point for the next. But this time, there won't be a next game for Queensland if they don't win going away and other results don't conspire to come to their aid.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie has watched his side lift itself from a form slump compounded by long-term injuries to key players and enter the final round on a five-game winning streak and a chance of playing in the post-season. To do that, they need a bonus point win over the Waratahs and hope one of the four teams above them (Brumbies, Crusaders, Sharks and Bulls) drop a home game to lesser opponents (Blues, Force, Cheetahs and Lions).

As they did before beating the Highlanders, a win will be the priority; the bonus point an added extra.

''You go out there to play well. You go out there to try and play your best football,'' McKenzie said. ''As a byproduct of that, you might score four tries. You might score eight tries if you play really well. But to start with the four tries and work backwards usually ends in tears.''

McKenzie is under no illusion as to what level the Reds need to reach if they are to tear up the Tahs, who are travelling terribly but always lift for the interstate derby.

''What we need is the perfect game this weekend to ensure we get the best ladder position possible,'' he said. ''One thing I can guarantee is we haven't played the perfect game yet. It's still ahead of us. This weekend would be very timely.''

Rob Simmons (cork) remains in doubt for the Reds but Digby Ioane (pneumonia) and Liam Gill (hamstring) are in contention to play.

With the stoic Beau Robinson continuing to play through the pain of a foot injury, the return of Gill would be a huge boost to a Reds side who had to endure a battering at the breakdown from the Highlanders before escaping with a tense 19-13 win.

Post-injury Quade Cooper looked a better player than the pre-injury version on Friday night, with his game management and deft kicks adding to his great feet and supersonic passing. He believes the big-game experience of last year will ensure the Reds have an edge over the Tahs in what will be the biggest game of Super Rugby in Brisbane since last year's grand final.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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