South African playmaker Peter Grant kicked and guided Western Force to a morale-boosting 40-26 win over Queensland Reds in Super Rugby in Brisbane on Friday.
Grant, the former Springbok and Western Stormers fly-half, kicked seven from seven with three conversions and four penalty goals as the Force put behind damaging uncertainty over their future to all but end the Reds' remote finals hopes.
Both sides scored four tries each but it was the 32-year-old Grant's steady goalkicking which proved the difference as the Force won for the third straight time against the disappointing Reds.
The Force still don't know if they will be playing in next year's competition given the continuing uncertainty with the Australian Rugby Union still yet to decide on which of its five teams to cull.
Queensland looked set to go on to victory after Wallaby skipper and hooker Stephen Moore scored his second try for the Reds to lead 26-21 with 20 minutes left.
But the Force refused to give in and rattled off 19 unanswered points to win comfortably with Wallaby lock Adam Coleman outstanding at the set piece and making 14 tackles.
"We were disappointed with the effort we put in last week against the Otago Highlanders (losing 55-6 at home) so we needed to bring that back to our game and we did that in the second half," skipper Matt Hodgson said.
"With everything that is going on it is tough to turn out every week, but I'm just proud of the boys."
Once again the Reds were their own worst enemy with two yellow cards in the second half, to scrum-half Nick Frisby and winger Eto Nabuli and their loss dropped them in fourth place in the mediocre Australian conference.
The Reds indiscipline has cost them 12 yellow cards this season, more than any other team in Super Rugby.
Wallaby hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau came off the bench to seal the win for the Force with his 70th-minute try off the back of a rolling maul.
While the Force have struggled in Super Rugby in recent seasons they have won six and drawn one of their last nine games against the Reds, including wins in their last three meetings.