With the Super Rugby quarter-finalists now decided we take a look at those teams who missed out. Next up, the Reds.
Another season to forget for the 2011 champions has thankfully come to an end, as they remain adrift from the best sides in Australia, let alone in the tournament overall. But at least they tried to do something about it early on.
It was quickly apparent that the move to keep Richard Graham for another campaign had been a calamitous one, having lost their opening two matches to the Waratahs and Force by a combined total of 52-16. With Graham sacked, in stepped Nick Stiles and Matt O'Connor as co-coaches to guide the Reds through the rest of the year.
Even if the results weren't anything to write home about from that point onwards, with three wins and a draw overshadowed by nine losses, they absolutely looked more competent.
Defeating reigning champions the Highlanders was a landmark result, with a storming first-half as the Reds ran in three tries, but that game stands out as a rarity. Wins over the Cheetahs and Sunwolves helped the side finish 15th overall.
The best thing to do would be to draw a line under the season and move on. Whoever takes over as full-time head coach will get their hands on a group which still feels overwhelmingly raw, though not without potential in certain positions.
Samu Kerevi has been a star, Andrew Ready looks a real find at hooker and after years with his feet up on the bench waiting for a chance, Nick Frisby didn't disappoint, save for some questionable decision-making, although he did finish as the side's joint top try scorer with five.
We can't however forget the fanfare which greeted Ayumu Goromaru's arrival, and the splutter that followed as he was dropped partly for his lack of English. He's now off to Toulon.
The long absence of Kane Douglas through injury was especially unlucky given the ballast he adds to the pack, while in terms of departures Greg Holmes and Liam Gill, the latter also off to Toulon, will be sorely missed.
It's worth pointing out that the group of players left behind are far from a trainwreck. There really is potential there. But it's sure been a rough year to forget for those in Queensland with more you feel to come, even with the rumoured return of Quade Cooper.
Best player: A close call sees Andrew Ready miss out to Samu Kerevi, whose powerful carries were so fundamental to the Reds' attack. Still work to be done on his defensive alignment but he's a special talent and one of the first names on the Reds' teamsheet. Only Dane Haylett-Petty and Damian McKenzie had more carries this year, with Kerevi also the joint leader for the most defenders beaten on 62.