The worst conditions of the year and a gritty Wodonga have virtually guaranteed Wangaratta Rovers will need to upset Wangaratta for a second time to play finals.
Rovers desperately needed a thumping win over Wodonga on Saturday to cut the percentage gap to fifth-placed Wodonga Raiders, but could only manage a gritty 17-point triumph on the road.
With two rounds left, Raiders and Rovers are locked on 32 points, but the former has a percentage lead of 10.40.
Raiders led by 12.05 heading into the round.
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The pair has been battling for the last remaining spot in finals for months.
"We never spoke about percentage, we just spoke about winning the game," coach Daryn Cresswell said.
We never spoke about percentage, we just spoke about winning the game.Daryn Cresswell
"Whether we play finals or not is irrelevant, it's just been a really positive year."
The Hawks are attempting to become the first club in the league's 126 years to claim a winless wooden spoon and play finals the next season.
Rovers face competition favourites Wangaratta on Sunday, followed by seventh-placed Yarrawonga in the final round.
Raiders host second-placed Albury on Saturday and complete the regular season against eighth-placed North Albury.
Given both teams will start favourite in their final game, it means Rovers must beat Wangaratta, although Raiders could blow their hopes away as early as this weekend with an upset of Albury.
Still, Rovers posted the upset of the year when they pipped the Pies in round eight to snap a five-match losing streak to them.
Admittedly, Wangaratta was missing some stars, including boom forward Michael Newton, who could be out again until week two of finals with a sternum injury, but that certainly won't be the case for the Hawks, who are set to name all their guns, including Richmond VFL player Charlie Thompson and Giants' NEAFL star Nick Murray.
"Yeah, we'll be at full strength against Wangaratta," Cresswell said.