After narrowly avoiding just their second loss under new coach Scott Logan, the Illawarra Cutters can take another step towards a top-four finish when they face North Sydney at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.
The Cutters retained fourth place on the ladder via the point they took home from a 24-all draw against Canterbury last week, after racking up 72 points and conceding just 12 in their previous two encounters, against Newcastle and Manly.
North Sydney have just two wins from 19 games, but the match is shaping as crucial to the Cutters' top-four aspirations, according to chairman Sean O'Connor.
"I think this week's game against North Sydney is especially important," O'Connor said. "It's a must-win game. We've got quite a hard run into the semi-finals but we have got the bye up our sleeve.
"I think if we beat North Sydney this weekend it should nearly ensure us a semi-finals spot, but our goal is to really make the top four. So we have two bites at the cherry if we need them."
O'Connor said a change of coach mid-season was never ideal, but he praised Logan for his seamless transition to the head coach role - former coach Ian Millward was called up to help NRL coach Paul McGregor when he took the Dragons' top job six weeks ago.
"Our coaches Scott Logan and his assistant Peter Reed have done a great job in maintaining the momentum since taking over from Ian Millward.
"I think Ian did a great job early in the season and since Scott's taken over the momentum has been maintained and I think he's done a great job," O'Connor said
"Injuries are starting to bite in a little bit now, but we've done well to keep winning and the players who've come in to replace the injured players have done a great job."
Hillen back for Burgh: Page 37