BRISBANE - From Super Rugby champions to wooden-spooners in three years — that's the grim reality facing the Queensland Reds.
And star playmaker Quade Cooper may not be there to rescue them until it's possibly too late.
The Reds' sixth straight loss, the controversial 30-27 last-minute defeat by the Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium, not only saw them slump to their worst streak since 2008 but also last on the ladder.
A season from hell under new coach Richard Graham just became more despairing with a fourth three-point loss for the year and Cooper suffering a serious shoulder injury, ruling him out for a month.
They will only fall further behind next weekend with a bye before hosting the in-form Highlanders on May 30 in the last round before the break for the June internationals.
But on current form, even with Cooper possibly back for their last three derby matches, it's hard to see where a win will come from.
Queensland believed they were robbed after a spiteful-yet-entertaining encounter with the Rebels was decided by a belated reversed penalty by television match official Steve Lescinski at Suncorp Stadium.
Skipper James Horwill and Graham were furious Lescinski overturned Steve Walsh's original call as they were setting up a lineout 50m downfield from a scuffle between Ed O'Donoghue and Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham.
O'Donoghue's red-card for an alleged eye-gouge was panned by Horwill who said Higginbotham didn't have a scratch on him and was surprised by the call.