The Chiefs admit their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman finals hopes are likely dead following last night's 40-34 loss to the Reds in Townsville.
The Reds punished the Chiefs in the first half, racing to a 33-3 lead at halftime, while star fullback Damian McKenzie also received a red card for a high tackle after just 25 minutes.
But despite being a man down, the Chiefs bravely fought back, scoring five tries in the second half to scare the hosts.
However, it was not enough, as the Waikato men became the first New Zealand side to lose in the competition thus far.
By doing so, captain Brad Weber admitted their season was likely over.
"We're probably no chance of making the final now I imagine," Weber said.
"I can’t see three of the other four New Zealand teams losing a game from here personally.
"We’re all pretty disappointed. It was a missed opportunity to put ourselves right in the hunt for the final and we blew it tonight."
Coach Nathan McMillan agreed.
"I personally think the loss tonight was terminal, we'll be gone," McMillan said.
"We’ve got a really young squad and we need to learn the lessons that were learnt tonight and come back better."
Despite the disappointing loss, the Chiefs had no plans to simply cruise through the remaining fixtures.
"It’s not in our nature to give up," Weber said.
"We still get two chances to play and hopefully we can still play with some pretty cool brand of footy. We’ve enjoyed playing with each other all year and why not go out with a bang these next couple of weeks."
The Chiefs host the Rebels in Hamilton next Saturday before travelling to Brookvale the following weekend to play the Waratahs.