The Moruya Sharks face an uphill battle to secure a top-five spot next weekend after a 12-point loss to the Bombala Blue Heelers at Ack Weyman Oval.
While the Sharks remain in fifth after the loss, they face a situation where they must beat first-placed Bega next weekend to secure a spot in the five.
The match was played at a high pace from the kickoff, as the two sides combined for four tries in the opening 13 minutes.
Tyler Jones opened the scoring for the visiting Heelers in the third minute, before Jacob Hill hit back for Moruya in the sixth.
Joseva Nayato scored the Heelers second try in the 10th minute, and when Tevita Badogo strolled over the line just three minutes later, Bombala had a solid 16-6 lead.
The Sharks hit back in the 20th minute, as Jordan Terare found the Heelers' defence short on the right edge.
Bombala continued to hold Moruya off, and Benjamin Mooney scored from a kick just four minutes later to re-establish a two-try lead.
Moruya would have the final say in the first half, with Caine Brierley crossing in the left corner to bring his side within six at the half-time break.
Any momentum Moruya may have taken into the second half was quickly stifled, as returning second rower, Dean Scott, knocked on from the kickoff.
Bombala made him pay when Paul Perkins crossed right under the black dot to give his side a 28-16 lead.
Moruya kept in touch through Jordan Terare's second try, but a defensive lapse near the line allowed Heelers' halfback, Andrew Guthrie, to stroll through for a simple try.
The Heelers threatened to put the game out of reach midway through the second, setting up repeat attacking sets on Moruya's line.
However, Caine Brierley kept the home side alive with a length-of-the-field, intercept try as Bombala looked certain to score in the right corner.
Moruya picked up momentum from that point, but couldn't find a match-tying try. Bombala eventually pounced through winger Corey Booker, and the visitors looked home and hosed at 40-28.
Aaron Brierley scored a try with five minutes to go to set up a grandstand finish, but Sharks' halfback, Koorin Campbell, couldn't control the ensuing kickoff, gifting Bombala possession with less than three minutes remaining.
Nathan Robinson scored the final try of the day to seal a 46-34 victory.
In the earlier grades, the Bombala High Heelers continued their push for a top-two spot with a 38-0 win over the Moruya Sharkettes.
Georgina Clarke scored a double for the Heelers, who now simply need to beat Tathra next weekend to sew up second spot.
Moruya's reserve-grade side won 20-16 to make sure the Sharks wouldn't leave the day empty handed.
The Sharks led 20-0 with eight minutes to go when Joshua Stewart was sin-binned, giving Bombala the opportunity to score three late tries.