The Platypi are sitting in second on the ladder after defeating Bathurst Bulldogs in Forbes on Saturday.
The Forbes side now just needs a win against Dubbo Rhinos this coming Saturday to secure a home semi final in the club’s 50th season.
Forbes’ win ends Bathurst’s hopes of a top three finish – Dubbo Roos hold third after a loss to the first-placed Orange Emus.
Bulldogs carried a lead into half-time, but were held scoreless after the break to go down 24-13.
Both teams traded penalties early in the game before the Bulldogs took a 10-3 lead.
Forbes was able to respond with a try of their own before the Bulldogs edged clear in a tight tussle thanks to another penalty.
A broken rib for Bulldogs half Josh Oxley sapped the spirit out of the visitors’ game and the Platypi began to find some rhythm.
The error count began to pile up for the Bulldogs after half-time and the Platypi didn’t squander their chances to hit back.
The Platypi’s Phil Prior said Forbes made an outstanding team effort on the day.
“The boys really stuck to their guns,” he said. “The plan was to try to win our set pieces and we did, our scrum was under the pump but our line-outs were good.”
While the hosts didn’t make an ideal start, he pointed out that they love to “get into that arm wrestle” and once they did, they regained control of the game.
“Our halfback Mahe Fangupo was extremely good and the Matty Coles factor is outstanding,” Prior said.
“Ned Brockmann at fullback, for an 18-year-old he is outstanding, his brain is far beyond his years.”
The clash was a very physical one – in addition to Oxley’s broken rib, Forbes lost Brett Stace with a broken arm and James King went off with a shoulder injury.
The Platypi now prepare for their final round clash with Dubbo Rhinos.
“If we get through Rhinos unscathed we lock in a major semi-final here,” Prior said.
“And the wolf pack having a 29-all draw on Saturday keeps us in third, they will be playing the major semi with us.”
Prior gave credit to the visiting Bathurst side.
“They were good, they came over with a plan,” he said.
Bulldogs co-coach Nathan Pearce said they had played well in patches, but didn’t maintain possession.
“We knocked on at untimely moments, weren’t throwing lineouts straight and our penalties weren’t finding touch,” he said.
“Those are the sorts of things we get right 99 per cent of the time, and the disappointing thing is that it was some of our more experienced players making the mistakes.
“There’s no doubt losing Josh Oxley was a big moment for us. He was outscoring Mahe Fangupo before the break, which is a big achievement,” Pearce said.