The Maitland Blacks collected a bonus-point win but will be sweating on the fitness of fly-half Josh McCormack after beating Southern Beaches 43-14 at Marcellin Park on Saturday.
"It wasn't our best performance but we won. We walked away with the five points we needed but we are in for a really tough hit out next weekend," Blacks coach Matt Thomas said.
"We've got to go down to Lake Macquarie ready to perform just to try to keep our third spot, otherwise we are going to be in all sorts of trouble."
The trip to Lake Macquarie is one of the toughest road trips in the competition and Thomas is hoping McCormack will be available after going off with a should injury on Saturday.
The Blacks are third on the ladder one point clear of Merewether-Carlton in fourth and need a bonus-point win next week to ensure a top-three finish.
"Hopefully Josh is going to be Ok. He is great leader of our side, he is a good general of the team," Thomas said.
"We need him, but unfortunately we've been plagued by injuries all year and nothing looks like changing.
"He is our best on-field communicator, he reads the game so well."
Chris Logan slotted in at fullback when McCormack left the field and Lachy Bradford switched to No.10.
"Chris came on and we put him at fullback and he looked good, he looked like he had time. We've got good coverage with him across a number of positions," Thomas said.
The major positives to come out of the game were the form of scrumhalf Ben Taylor and forwards Hugues de Rocquigny and Travis Brooke, who scored a double playing in front of his parents who had travelled over from New Zealand.
"Travis is getting back to his form after injuries. He showed his class," Thomas said. "Ben Taylor coming in for Maxy (Stafford) played very well. He showed is a class first grader, it is just trying to fit him into the team.
"He was best performer on the field, along with Hugues de Rocquigny who showed why we need him in first grade. It's a good sign of our depth, we are going to be calling on it big time over the next month."