The Reds were handed an emphatic reality check, going down 38-5 to the Crusaders on Friday night.
An early blitz from Jone Macilai, who finished with a hat-trick, put Queensland on the back foot as they became Canterbury’s eighth consecutive victim and continuing a 17-year drought in Christchurch.
It took Macilai just eight minutes to snag the first two of his tries, against the flow of possession.
Queensland went scoreless despite having 75 per cent of the possession in the opening 25 minutes, spending five minutes of that in the Crusaders’ 22 and winning three penalties in that time.
The absence of powerful centre Samu Kerevi was obvious as the Reds were unable to make linebreaks, somewhat of a trademark of the injured centre, who sits third in that stat in the competition.
A late first-half try to Scott Barrett was another blow to the Reds as the lead extended to 21-0 at the break.
The Crusaders continued where they left off in the second half, with Macilai taking just three minutes to complete his hat-trick.
The seemingly unassailable margin left the Reds off the leash and they began to experiment with backline maneouvres.
It paid off when a Jake McIntyre chip kick fell into the hands of young gun Campbell Magnay to score the Reds first points of the match.
A yellow card to Crusaders captain Kieran Read in the 58th minute didn’t stop the home side’s flow as Jordan Taufua scored the Crusaders fifth try despite being down to 14 men.
Cody Taylor finished it off for the Crusaders with at rolling maul try to finish off a disastrous night for the Reds.
The Reds head to Wellington next week to face the Hurricanes.
Tries: Macilai 3, Barrett, Taufua, Taylor Cons: Mo’unga 3, McKenzie