The Illawarra Rugby finals chase remains on a knife's edge after Vikings played out a gut-wrenching draw with Avondale on Saturday.
After dominating proceedings for the vast majority of the match, Vikings led 15-5 with 15 minutes remaining before momentum swung back towards the Wombats.
Suddenly it was the home side's turn to defend their line and while they initially held firm, Avondale eventually broke through in the 76th minute.
The Wombats were in again just two minutes later, Andre Itula breaking free from deep in his own half to set up Allan Tuigamala for the equaliser.
With the conversion waved away, the scores were locked at 15-all.
Avondale had one last chance to secure a miracle victory, however they coughed up the ball and the referee blew the final whistle.
Vikings coach Sean Barrett was thrilled with large portions of his team's performance, but said the final outcome showed you have to play for the full 80 minutes against a side like Avondale.
"We're very proud of the boy's efforts to keep us in the running for the finals," Barrett said. "If we had have come away with the win, we would have been in better shape, but we'll take a draw.
"The challenge for our blokes was to step up to the mark and we did that for 78 minutes, which was good. But it's an 80-minute game, so we've got to play for 80 minutes."
Heading into the game, Vikings, Shamrocks and University were separated by just three points on the ladder.
With University and Shamrocks both securing bonus point victories on Saturday, Shamrocks are now up to third on 60 points, while Vikings and Uni sit level on 58 points in fourth and fifth respectively.
The ladder situation makes Vikings final-round trip up to Bowral a must win, but Barrett remains confident his side can defeat the defending premiers.
"We'll have to reassess this week, prepare to go up the mountain for another challenge in Bowral.
"We've got the mental fortitude to go up there and get the win, and that comes from within the playing group."
With the minor premiership almost secured, Avondale had far less to play for than the Vikings.
Despite this, coach Joe Aiono was disappointed with his team's performance and said they must show considerable improvement over the next fortnight if they are to succeed in the finals.
"That's probably one of the ugliest performances I've seen playing or coaching here," Aiono said.
"Vikings are a good outfit, they have a good coaching staff, but we only played for five minutes, the first minute when we scored and the last five minutes.
"It's a bit disappointing, coming into the back end of the season, with finals around the corner. We've addressed it, we know what was happening and we've got to fix it next week against Tech."
Also on Saturday, University beat Campbelltown 56-12, Shamrocks defeated Camden 52-21, Tech overcame Kiama 27-10 and Bowral edged Shoalhaven 26-24.
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