A LATE penalty goal to Hastings Valley was all that stood between the Vikings and the Coffs Snappers.
Coffs led for a large majority of the match in the wet conditions but a successful kick from Lyndon Gale proved the difference in the 11-10 result.
With three rounds remaining, the Snappers are still more than a game clear of the Vikings on the table but the gap is closing and the competition leaders can't afford another slip up if they want to play the major semi-final on home soil.
Hastings Valley coach Mark Howard said his team had to adjust on the run to what he saw as a different style of play from the Snappers compared to what he'd seen in the past.
The Snappers smaller but more agile pack performed well in the wet conditions and were still able to provide some dangerous chances for the speedy backs.
"When you play these teams every year you think you get to know their style but credit to Coffs in the way they've changed how they play," Howard said.
"They still deserve to be favourites for the competition, but we know we're there and thereabouts."
This weekend local pride goes on the line when the Snappers host SCU Marlins in a local derby.
While the Marlins currently sit in third position on the table, they're only two points ahead of the fifth placed Port Pirates in a tight race for the final place in the top four.