The Goannas may only have one win from the opening four rounds of the Western Women's Rugby League season, but coach Kaitlyn Mason is still confident they can make an impact at finals time.
The Goannas led the Orange Vipers 20-10 at half-time in Sunday's open-age clash, but a raft of injuries in the second half left the side short on troops.
The Vipers made the numerical advantage count at a wet and miserable Orange and a try in the final minutes secured a come-from-behind 28-26 victory.
"We went from 14 (players) down to 10 in the second half," Mason said.
"Obviously it was a bit disappointing that it came down to that in the final couple of minutes but the girls who were out there weren't too discouraged.
"They still moved the ball forward but it just got a bit too much in the end. I was proud of the girls for the way they stuck it out and worked for each other.
"It was just unfortunate with the numbers but that's football."
An ankle injury, a head knock, and a nasty gash to the face were among the injuries the Goannas suffered during Sunday's loss.
The result means the Goannas need a win over Woodbridge in Sunday's final round to make sure of a finals place but they could remain in the top four with a loss if other results go their way.
It's not ideal situation for Mason and her side to be in, but after a host of injuries and COVID dilemmas the coach still has plenty of faith in her players' abilities.
"Most definitely," she said.
"It's a five-team competition in the opens and we can still get fourth spot and play finals.
"It will depend on how we go against Woodbridge, and that will be tough, but if we can get everyone there we can most definitely (do well in finals)."
Mason was still keen to praise the efforts of a number of players after Sunday's loss at Orange.
The forward pack was strong throughout but the standout there was Cassie Toomey, who powered over for three tries.
Halves April Townsend and Tarlee Roberts continue to have a better understanding and combination while Maggie Townsend, Emma Evans and Peta Powyer also got through plenty of work.
It was a tough day at Orange for the Goannas club, with only the under 17s scoring a win.
The lone win was an impressive one as the Goannas downed the previously unbeaten Vipers 22-18.
The under 17s side, which is also coached by Mason, now sits second on the ladder behind the Vipers heading into the final round.
"We had one hiccup in round two when we didn't have many players but we did well against Orange and got the strong win," Mason said.
"They've really impressed me this season so it will be exciting to see where we land after all the round games."
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