Reds coach Ewan McKenzie cited his side's fighting spirit as the most crucial factor in securing a home play-off match.
The defending champions will face the Sharks in Brisbane on Saturday thanks to a determined bonus-point victory over the Waratahs which saw them leapfrog the Brumbies and take top spot in the Australian conference.
The Queensland side have not had things their own way this season, and McKenzie said that the way his squad delivered under pressure was most heartening ahead of the knock-out phase of the competition.
He said: "Since round four of the competition we've been fighting to stay in finals contention so I'm really proud of the players.
"We've stuck to the task, hung in there, finding ways to overcome situations. We never really complained much and just got on with it. The six from six (matches) scenario was pretty dire but the guys took that on and worked their way through that, and even tonight with the four try scenario, we handled that really well during the week," added the Reds coach.
McKenzie explained that his side had simply gone out to play as well as possible against the Waratahs, and were rewarded with the bonus point which secured their passage into the play-offs.
"We had no plan about the four tries as we said, we just figured if we did enough good things it would arrive. I was really pleased with the concentration and aptitude of the playing group who were able to stick to the task and get the job done.
"We're in finals now which we were chasing from the start of the competition. Now it's a different scenario. We'll go week-to-week and get that right," he said.
The win was the second straight year the Reds have won the Australian Conference and means they end their regular season with seven victories from eight games against Australian rivals.
"Tonight was about playing a good game across the 80minutes. That was very much a focus and we felt if we did that, we would get the four tries," captain Will Genia said.
"We are lucky we did that and it gives us the opportunity to push forward in the competition from next week," he added.