RUGBY LEAGUE: The Gatton Hawks will face a play-off to keep their finals hopes alive after going down to the Souths Tigers 34-30 at Cahill Park on Sunday afternoon.
The two teams will meet again at Brothers on Wednesday night, with the winner of the mid-week contest progressing to this weekend's elimination semi-final.
Gatton got off to another quick start, taking an 8-0 lead within the opening eight minutes on the back of two tries from centre Cameron Nicholls.
Souths responded, running in three tries to get their noses ahead and kick-start a frantic end to the first half.
Gatton answered with a try through veteran Dom Haak, which pulled them within two points but Souths scored with sixty seconds left in the half to go into the break with a 22-14 lead.
The Tigers would extend their lead to 28-14 with an early second half try.
A tremendous comeback looked to be on the cards as the Hawks regathered a 30-28 lead with just eight minutes to play after putting three tries on the visiting team in just eight minutes.
Billy Jackwitz, Jack Pender and Tye Gray all crossed the white line to give Gatton hope of securing their spot in the post-season but Souths scored a match-winning try with four minutes left to play to steal it at the death.
Co-coach Nicki-John Harch said the side would have to contend with injury concerns and a short turnaround in the lead-up to the mid-week battle.
"We finished the game with no one on the bench, so we are down on troops a bit,” Harch said.
"We showed we have got the footy in us to turn it around, but it is just about our attitude and how the boys pull up.”
Dennis Burgoyne and halfback Joshua Ryan both picked up injuries.
Francis Han, Joshua Belz and Daniel Marsh were named as the Hawks' best.
Gatton will be determined to bounce back from this loss when they take on the Souths Tigers again on Wednesday from 7pm at Brothers Rugby League Club, Hursley Road, Toowoomba.
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