"We'll turn up next week, give it a red-hot crack and see what happens." That was Helensburgh coach Gavin Lennon's assessment after his side limped to a 34-28 win over Hills last week, finishing with just 11 fit men on the park.
In the end, the Tigers did that and more to upset the Belrose Eagles 26-6 on the road and secure a spot in the Sydney Shield finals on Sunday.
The Tigers went into the clash clinging to fourth spot but nursing a heavy injury toll that claimed strike centre pairing Charly Runciman and Jordan Tongahi last week.
With Hills and Moorebank sitting one point adrift, anything short of a win would have seen the Tigers drop our of the finals race but they showed steel to grab the win and snatch their spot in the post-season. Coach Gavin Lennon said it's as good a performance he's seen from his side.
"It's why you're involved in footy, it's why you coach, to see that sort of performance. It's what it's all about," Lennon said.
"It was one of the best game's of footy I've ever coached in and I'm super proud of the effort.
"The first 20 minutes we had all the ball down their end of the field and we couldn't crack them. They just kept turning us away and usually we'd drop our heads after that and concede but we didn't we stuck in the battle.
"We were 6-0 down at halftime but we knew what we had to do, we kept executing and we got the rewards for the first 20 minutes at the back end. It was nice to see a Helensburgh side stick to our guns and get the rewards at the end instead of going away from what works.
"It just shows the class of guys we've got in the squad this year. To be in the finals of a Sydney Shield competition is pretty special."
They'll face minor premiers Ryde-Eastwood next week in a match that puts them one win away from a grand final appearance - their first since the 2015 Illawarra League decider.
The Tigers trailed 6-0 after a torrid first half but struck first through Azan Turoa three minutes into the second stanza. Harrison Geraghty followed up with a double, with Will Russell stamping the last of 26 unanswered points and the victory.