The Reds are considering launching an 11th-hour appeal against Quade Cooper's one-match suspension in a desperate bid to have the playmaker available for Saturday's Super Rugby qualifier against the Sharks.
Cooper was banned for a week on Monday after judicial officer Paul Tully found him guilty of a high tackle on Waratahs star Berrick Barnes following a marathon hearing.
The Reds have been talking up their ability to win without their enigmatic playmaker ever since the decision was handed down, indicating they would not appeal the decision, but a statement released on Wednesday confirmed the Queensland Rugby Union are now "seriously considering" fighting the ruling.
"We are obviously particularly sensitive to not disrupting the Reds team dynamics and preparation in launching an appeal at this late stage, however by not receiving the formal judgement until 8pm Tuesday after the decision was handed down on Monday evening, time is getting away from us in what was already a short preparation," QRU chairman Rod McCall said.
"Under the current SANZAR protocols if we were to launch an appeal we would lose at least a further day of preparation with (coach) Ewen (McKenzie) and Quade who would both be required to fly to Sydney for another hearing.
"However we are cognisant of the need to support our player if we feel he has been treated harshly and in our opinion we still strongly believe the tackle did not warrant suspension.
"After taking the advice of legal representatives, the QRU first intends to discuss the matter further with SANZAR before making a decision whether to launch an appeal within the allowed 48-hour period."
Cooper is risking a three-week ban if he appeals and loses.