United coach Zivko Jovanovski has likened his team's showdown with Kemblawarra Fury on Saturday to a grand final.
Locked in an enthralling battle for the top-five, Jovanovski is adamant United must pick up points at Macedonia Park or risk seeing their finals hopes go up in flames.
Wollongong (29 points) are level on points with fifth-placed Port Kembla heading into the weekend, but hold an inferior goal difference by six to the Zebras.
"This is make or break for us," Jovanovski said. "Looking at who the other teams play, Port and Albion Park, we have to come away with at least a point in this match if we want that fifth spot.
"It's been that sort of season for us where we have played some good football, but dropped points against teams lower on the table.
"We can't afford to slip up at all this weekend."
Wollongong will be without Angelo Hajittofi, Daisuke Yuzawa and Billy Tsovolos for the do-or-die clash with the Fury.
Kemblawarra are also battling injuries, but Jovanovski insists the third-placed club will still pose a huge challenge to his men as they push for the top-five.
"It should be a good contest because they need a result as well to keep with the top two," he said.
In other round 20 matches on Saturday, Port Kembla meet Tarrawanna, Picton Rangers host Wollongong Olympic and Albion Park White Eagles play Woonona Sharks.
On Sunday, ladder leaders Bulli host Cringila Lions and South Coast United face Corrimal Rangers.