Reds winger Dom Shipperley raced half the length of the field to score the match-winning try for his team on full-time to beat the Waratahs 25-21 in Sydney on Saturday.
The game was in the bag for the hosts, only for them to hand possession back to the Queenslanders who didn't need a second invitation to run it back and snatch victory from under the Waratahs' noses.
It was the only try the Reds could manage against the Waratahs, with fly-half Mike Harris adding six penalties and a conversion to end the night with a 100 per cent success rate and in the process took his tally in Super Rugby to 15 successive kicks at goal.
Number eight Wycliff Palu and South African scrum-half Sarel Pretorius crossed for the Waratahs, while skipper Daniel Halangahu added 11 points with the boot.
It wasn't the most entertaining match, but a real arm wrestle with plenty of physicality but little spark in attack.
Halangahu got his side on the scoreboard first with a well-struck penalty with barely two minutes up on the clock. Harris was quick to respond with a three-pointer of his own, and added two more that took the Reds into a 9-3 lead.
Palu went over for the Waratahs opening try after the Reds made a mess of a scrum close to their line. Reds scrum-half Will Genia snaffled the ball as it squirted out the Waratahs' scrum, however lost the ball in the tackle and Palu was gifted a simple score.
Harris retained his side's five-point lead however with penalty number four on the stroke of half-time to see the Reds lead 12-8.
That advantage was cut to just a point immediately after the break, with Halangahu making no mistake from bang in front in what was turning into a real kicking duel between him and Harris who kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Reds with another three-pointer.
Halangahu was off-target with a penalty, while hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau thought he had scored when he charged over but play was pulled back for a knock-on.
However Halangahu cut the gap to 15-14 with a penalty from close range before new signing Pretorius sniped around the edge of a breakdown to score.
Halangahu's conversion saw the home side lead 21-15 - although Harris was continued his impressive kicking display with another penalty to set up a thrilling finale.
And the Waratahs were made to pay for a lack of composure at the death as they missed touch in the dying seconds - and that set up the platform for Shipperley to strike.
Tries: Palu, Pretorius
Pens: Halangahu 3
Pens: Harris 6
Waratahs: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Brackin Karauria-Henry, 10 Daniel Halangahu (capt), 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Dean Mumm, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Lopeti Timani, 19 Jono Jenkins, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Bernard Foley, 22 Nathan Trist.
Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Mike Harris, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (capt), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Van Humphries, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Jono Lance.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)