If you finish third on the ladder no one can argue that you aren't worthy
The defending champion Reds will have 'revenge' on their minds when they take on the Sharks in the first round of Super Rugby play-off matches this coming Saturday.
Their magical five-try effort against the Waratahs in Brisbane at the weekend has set the scene for a blockbuster home encounter and redemption against the Sharks.
The Sharks were the first team to beat the Reds in 2012, when they fought back from the Queensland outfit's early dominance and 17-0 lead to storm home in Durban to win 27-22.
A spate of injuries and the suspension of wing Digby Ioane resulted in the match being the first of three straight losses for the Reds, although they regrouped in the middle stages of the season before powering home to win their final six games and the Australian Conference trophy.
During their late season charge the Reds knocked over three Australian rivals in the Brumbies, Rebels and Waratahs; New Zealand heavyweights the Chiefs and Highlanders; as well as South Africa's Lions.
The Reds collected a four-try bonus-point in all but two of those matches, including their regular season finale heroics against the Waratahs at the weekend, where the Reds collected maximum competition points to win both the Templeton Cup and Australian Conference silverware.
The match capped off a regular season of dominance against Australian Conference rivals where the Reds were victorious in seven of their eight matches against Aussie opponents.
They are the only Australian side to qualify for the Super Rugby Final Series where a second showdown in 2012 against the Sharks awaits.
"We enjoyed a great start to our match against the Sharks earlier in the year, but we didn't play our best rugby in the final 40 minutes - as we let a 17-point lead slip," coach Ewen McKenzie said.
"We now get another opportunity to play them which is nice.
"Getting a second chance is part of our motivation, along with being at home and getting to play more games.
"There are lots of things we can set out minds too.
"The guys are steadfast on the team's reputation and we know we hit a few lows earlier in the season. We've done a good job of digging ourselves out of that and restoring the reputation of this year.
"If you finish third on the ladder [courtesy of winning the Aussie conference] no one can argue that you aren't worthy.
"We've done it the tough way this year and that just proves we have a good bunch of guys and footballers.
"And the good thing is we are still one of the youngest teams in the competition."
Reds captain Will Genia said he was thrilled to be in with an opportunity to win back-to-back Super Rugby titles.
"We feel we have good momentum going into the finals now and it's a maximum of three more games we have to play now," Genia said.
"We'll go away, do our homework, and continue with our momentum. We're looking forward to the opportunity to play again and hopefully we'll be sitting here with another win next week."