We couldn't control it completely in the end so it got a bit frustrating
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie admitted he threw plans A, B and C at the Sharks - without success.
Not even moving star scrumhalf Will Genia to flyhalf, albeit forced through injury, could prevent the Sharks from dumping the defending champions out of the 2012 Super Rugby competition.
The suspension of regular flyhalf Quade Cooper meant Ben Lucas started in the No.10 jersey, but he was replaced at the end of the first quarter when a brutal hit from the very physical Sharks left him unable to continue.
Genia was then shifted to the playmaker role, even though most pundits felt a specialist playmaker like Mike Harris would shift in from centre to flyhalf.
Sharks coach John Plumtree said the Reds' ploy with Genia played into their hands.
"Will [Genia] allowed us into the game, because he was throwing a lot of skip passes and we read that," Plumtree said.
McKenzie insisted it was the right move to put Genia at No.10, despite the Reds captain's inability to stamp his authority on the game.
"Like we've learned this year we've always got Plan B and C, and we went to that," McKenzie told a post-match media briefing.
"Will went to No.10, and went to No.10 last time we played the Sharks - so we've been practising that scenario.
"That was fine and we were prepared for that, and we got the flow we needed.
"We wanted to fatigue them, we wanted to move them around and we were doing that.
"We couldn't control it completely in the end so it got a bit frustrating."
The loss ended a six-match winning streak and their hopes of back-to-back titles.
The Reds have been in finals mode since round 12 where they were forced to go six games without defeat to win the Australian conference, a valiant performance which was highlighted by their must-win bonus-point victory against the Waratahs in the final regular season match of 2012.
The Reds entered the match having won 21 of their past 23 matches at their Brisbane fortress.
However, they were unable to continue writing their fairytale script with the in form Sharks victorious three-tries-to-two in front of 36,571 fans.
It wasn't the ending McKenzie or the team were expecting.
"We're obviously disappointed but there are things to be positive about and this group has a lot of football ahead of them," the coach said.
"We have a lot of good guys and I'm pretty proud of them. It has been a really good effort from where we were in Round Four to get to where we are now.
"It's just disappointing because we know we are better than what we were in this match.
"But we'll just keep pushing forward.
"I've been involved for three years and a lot of the guys have come into the program and they've developed as players into Wallabies.
"We've won a lot of football games and they've all put their hands up and are staying.
"We also have a fantastic record here in recent times at Suncorp.
"It wasn't a great one tonight but we will dust ourselves off and keep going from a program point of view."