In the corner: NSW halfback Nick Phipps dives over against the Reds.

In the corner: NSW halfback Nick Phipps dives over against the Reds. Photo: Getty Images

The Waratahs will perform emergency surgery on their lineout and look to lift in every aspect of their game leading into a home semi-final in a fortnight's time. 

After hammering Queensland four tries to none at Suncorp Stadium, NSW coach Michael Cheika was relaxed enough to see the lighter side of his side's set piece woes, joking that five stolen lineouts in the first half "was our smokescreen tonight, showing the other teams how bad we are at the lineout so we can get good later on".  

"It was pretty terrible but we haven't had a day like that for a while and it was a good reminder," Cheika continued.  "What we have to improve on is everything, even things that we're going well at, because everyone's coming now. It's sudden death from now on, so everyone's sharpening their pencils and getting their A-game ready.

Lineout lost: Rob Simmons steals the ball for Queensland against the NSW forwards.

Lineout lost: Rob Simmons steals the ball for Queensland against the NSW forwards. Photo: Getty Images

"We can't stay where we are, we need to try to keep improving over the next 10 days in the lead up to the first match of the finals so we can hopefully be better than the opposition on the night."

The Reds were particularly kind in the face of NSW's frailties up front, failing to convert any of their set piece pressure to points despite a hairy 10 minutes in the Waratahs 22 towards the end of the first half. 

Cheika said he was confident the team's lineout generals, Stephen Hoiles, Dave Dennis and Mitchell Chapman could iron out the kinks in time for their home semi-final. 

"It wasn't just poor play from us, they did well as well," he said. "We tried a few different things tonight in our line out ... and maybe we got some of our calling wrong more than anything."

The Waratahs were strong elsewhere, with inside centre Kurtley Beale leading a typically clinical attacking effort that did not visibly suffer from Israel Folau's absence.  "We weren't brilliant but we worked really hard," Cheika said. "We were physical in the first half with some really good hits, and when our opportunities came we used some good skills and took them."

NSW sit out the coming week's qualifying finals and host a semi-final at Allianz Stadium on July 26.