The Eden Tigers will chase a win and secondary results this weekend to make the finals.
Despite an enormous second half performance against the Bulldogs, Eden fell just two points shy 24-22 at George Brown on Sunday.
In windswept conditions, the Bulldogs shot away to an 18-10 lead at the break before the Tigers made a resurgence in the second period to almost chase down the win.
Both clubs were a little understrength and relatively threadbare on the bench with both clubs calling on some already battered and bruised bodies from their respective reserve grade outfits to back up.
Unfortunately the loss leaves the Tigers in the precarious position of needing a win - while Moruya must also lose to Bega this weekend - to make the grade for the finals series.
The leaderboard didn't change hands at all after the weekend matches and the Tigers were left in sixth play behind the Sharks on for and against.
The Tigers can theoretically win on for and against even if they drop the game but they will need a high-scoring and closely fought affair with a 13 point spread to the Sharks on for and against.
However, the Tigers will be confident of putting the win over the Narooma Devils on Sunday to lock in fifth place on the ladder and secure a finals berth in their return season.
The club will be looking keenly at areas that cost the result against the Bulldogs after loose carries and penalties waylaid both outfits early in play on Sunday - with play sweeping end-to-end only for one team to drop attacking pressure in a handover or intercept.
The Bulldogs got ahead with the early points and started to build some momentum to lead the Tigers 18-10 at the break.
However, after a good talk at half time, the Tigers were resurgent and sparked tries to Brett Kelly and Joel Grewar to pull the team back in contention.
When John Aldridge slotted a penalty conversion in the dying minutes the Tigers got within two, but the Bulldogs stood firm in the dying stages to hold out the narrow win.
The win shores up the Bulldogs place in fourth spot, while a massive loss to the Bay could see them fall out of contention on for and against with a 30 point spread from Moruya and 40 points to Eden.
No matter the result against Narooma, the Tigers will advance to finals play in both league-tag and reserve grades with the club holding down third and fourth respectively in the two grades.
The Tigers take on the Narooma Devils on Sunday in all three grades in the last round of the regular season with the Tigers enjoying a last home round at George Brown Oval.
Teams will not get any rest with Group 16 bringing the finals ahead a week with the first of two preliminary finals rounds to go ahead on the weekend of August 24-25.