Stingrays set play-offs platform

FOOTBALL

Stingrays coach Graham Shaw.

Stingrays coach Graham Shaw.

Illawarra Stingrays look to keep their finals ambitions alive in a blockbuster clash with second-placed Manly United at JJ Kelly Park on Sunday.

The Rays are on the brink of losing touch with the top-four and need three points to bridge the gap on their rivals.

Graham Shaw's squad are sixth on the ladder, five points behind fourth-placed North West Sydney Koalas, with seven matches left.

They'll need late-season results to go their way and to pick up wins in a pivotal series of games in the next month in order to be part of the post-season action.

Illawarra face Manly, Koalas, Football NSW Institute and Sydney University over the next month - all above them in the standings.

"What we need to do now is shore up points against the teams below us and knock off the teams above us so they are not getting away from us," coach Shaw said.

The first of those crucial matches is this weekend.

The Stingrays have met United twice this campaign and lost 3-2 both times.

"They are right up there and got a good result again last weekend. Going on our last two performances against them we know it is going to be a very close game," Shaw said.

"We weren't at our best last time we met and they landed a wonder goal from halfway to win it 3-2."

"If we are playing the football we have in the past couple of weeks we can take some points from them."

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