The Tenterfield Bumblebees are faced with a do-or-die last round encounter if they are to make the Far North Coast President's Cup semi-finals.
The Bees succumbed to Yamba on Saturday, beaten 24-14 in a game which coach Phil Jones believes was their's for the taking.
"We were unlucky, we were the better side," he said.
"We led for three-quarters of the game 14-12 and then we had a horrendous penalty count, 16-4 penalty count.
"It cost us in the end.
"Every time we tried to build pressure we would get penalised and it didn't help our cause too much."
Though they lost, and their season hangs in the balance, Jones was happy with his side's efforts.
"They are the top side and we pushed them right to the end which was good.
"All our boys played really, really well.
"Our defence was really good.
"They have a very classy backline and we matched them, probably got over the top of the in the backs and the forwards held their own."
Jones gave his points to Nick Lanz, Jason Maunder collected two as well as players' player and Josh Lucas one.
The Bees face another strong opponent this Saturday in Evans River for their final match of the regular season but Jones faces a few selection dilemmas.
"We came away with injuries in critical positions," he said.
"I've got four out this weekend doing that Variety Bash, that car rally.
"Both run on centres, Matt Krahe and Jack Cowan, they have been my centres all year. Jason Maunder is out, my five-eighth is out and probably my best backrower, Grant Townes.
"We have good depth though, we have enough players to field a strong side."
The Bees are clinging on to fourth spot and a loss would cost them dearly.
"We are in fourth but Iluka play Yamba and you wouldn't know what would happen there," Jones said.
"All the Grafton league sides are out of the comp and they have all filtered back into I think Iluka.
"We win against Evans up here then we won't get knocked out of the four but if we lose and Iluka win we will miss out by a point which would be a pity because we have had a great season."