Jake Gordon bagged a hat-trick as a Michael Hooper-led Waratahs smashed the shellshocked Reds 45-12 Saturday to reignite their Super Rugby AU season.
Wallabies skipper Hooper stood down as the 'Tahs captain for 2020, but with his replacement Rob Simmons out injured he was back in charge and marshalled the team to their best showing this year.
They were untouchable in an electric first-half at the Sydney Cricket Ground, exposing a fragile defence to go to the break 38-0 ahead after a five-try rampage.
Three went to scrum-half Gordon, with Jack Maddocks and Alex Newsome also crossing before Tom Horton added another in a wet second stanza.
It was their second win from five in the domestic tournament and moved them into third on the ladder alongside the Reds, three points behind the Melbourne Rebels and seven adrift of the ACT Brumbies.
"Very happy with that. We got off to a hot start and kept the foot on the throat. The set-piece was good, our ball movement was good, so really pleased," said Hooper.
"Our defence has improved out of sight in the past couple of weeks. It was a full squad effort to get that result."
The Reds picked up a 32-26 win against the Waratahs when they met in the opening round, snapping an 11-game losing streak against them in the process.
And on a chilly night, the Waratahs were out for revenge.
"Credit to NSW, they came out all guns blazing. We didn't come out with that energy and intensity that we promised and you can't chase down that many points," said Reds captain Liam Wright. "They probably wanted it more, to be honest."
The Waratahs exerted early pressure and got on the scoreboard first when Will Harrison booted a penalty.
They kept up their intensity and were rewarded with a quality try from Gordon, who finished off a 50-metre move down the wing that involved James Ramm and Karmichael Hunt.
And Gordon grabbed a second not long after, catching the Reds napping with a quick tap-penalty in front of the posts to leave them reeling, with Harrison converting both tries.
It was one-way traffic and Maddocks exposed the Reds again when Jack Dempsey broke a tackle and offloaded to the fullback, before Gordon snared his first-ever hat-trick after another flowing move.
The Reds were down 31-0 inside 30 minutes, and the 'Tahs grabbed a fifth try before the half-time hooter, with an acrobatic diving finish in the corner by Newsome culminating a nine-pass cross-field play.
Rain began falling and caused a slew of handling errors in a messy second period before Horton added their sixth try from a driving maul.
The Reds finally ended their drought after 53 painful minutes with Jack Hardy dotting down before James O'Connor collected another try in the dying seconds.
Waratahs 45 (38)
Tries: Jake Gordon (3), Jack Maddocks, Alex Newsome, Tom Horton
Conversions: Will Harrison (5), Ben Donaldson
Reds 12 (0)
Tries: Jack Hardy, James O' Connor
Conversion: O ' Connor
15 Jack Maddocks, 14 James Ramm, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Tom Staniforth/Jed Holloway, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Joey Walton, 23 Ben Donaldson
15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Scott Malolua, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Dane Zander
Substitutes: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Jack Straker, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Josh Flook