It might have taken a devastating Brumbies defeat at home to the Blues, and the equalling of the second best winning streak of any franchise in the 2012 Super Rugby season, but the defending champions were able to keep their bid to go back-to-back alive.
With the Australian Conference wrapped up for the second straight year, the Reds are the best in the country, but would like to prove their dominance in the Southern Hemisphere, after the young team went one step further than their famous Queensland counterparts in 1996, 1999 and 2001.
The Sharks have made their eighth Super Rugby Finals Series, but the Bulls three-titles and the Stormers back-to-back Conference championships mean that the men from Durban are still to emerge from the shadows of their Pretoria and Cape Town based rivals.
Three times the Sharks have contested a final, and if they are to become the sixth team to claim Super Rugby supremacy, winning at the home of the current champions would be an ideal launching point.
The concern for the Sharks is that they have lost five matches on the road this season, while coming up against a Reds team that has won sixteen of their last eighteen at Suncorp Stadium.
Reds (Australian Conference winners) v Bulls (6th placed wildcard)
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland
Kick off (1940 local, 2140 NZT, 1940 NSW/ACT, 1140 SAT, 0940 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
AR: Craig Joubert
AR: James Leckie
TMO: Matt Goddard
HEAD TO HEAD:
Played 14: Reds 8, Sharks 6
Points aggregate: Reds 327, Sharks 342
Tries aggregate: Reds 35, Sharks 43
Last match: Sharks 27 - 22 Reds at King's Park, Durban (2012SR, RD4)
Record in Brisbane - Played 6: Reds 5, Sharks 1
Record in Super Rugby Finals Series - Played 0
Reds 2012 Record - Played 16, Won 11, Lost 5,
359 PF (9th equal), 347 PA (4th overall), 38 tries (7th overall)
Sharks 2012 Record - Played 10, Lost 6
436 PF (5th overall), 348 PA (5th overall), 47 tries (3rd equal)
Reds: 15. Luke Morahan, 14. Dom Shipperley, 13. Anthony Faingaa, 12. Mike Harris, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Ben Lucas, 9. Will Genia (c), 8. Scott Higginbotham, 7. Liam Gill, 6. Jake Schatz, 5. Adam Wallace-Harrison (vc), 4. Rob Simmons, 3. James Slipper, 2. Saia Faingaa, 1. Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16. James Hanson,17. Ben Daley,18. Radike Samo,?19. Jarrad Butler,20. Beau Robinson,21. Nick Frisby,22. Ben Tapuai
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (capt), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane.