Brothers did just enough to hold onto second place on the Group Nine ladder with a narrow win over Kangaroos at Equex Centre on Saturday.
Needing to down their cross-town rivals to set up another all-Wagga clash with Southcity in the first week of the finals, the Brethren held off a late charge to take a 24-22 win.
Kangaroos scored more tries than their rivals, but Harold Kirby’s superior goal kicking proved to be the difference.
Coach Terry Westblade was relieved to get the win and earn an important second chance in the finals series.
“We only just did enough,” Westblade said.
“It was a heart-in-the-mouth job, but we got there at the end.
“It is sort of a relief and we have things to worry about but we are there.”
Kangaroos opened the scoring but it was Brothers who took an 18-8 lead into half-time.
First half tries to Kirby, Connor McCauley and James Hay put the Brethren on the front foot, before Cameron Andrews scored first in the second half.
Liam Carey hit back to push the margin to 12 points before tries to debutant Dylan Arragon and Sione Niuila set up a grandstand finish.
However it wasn’t enough for Kangaroos to end their season on a high.
Brothers have kept third-placed Gundagai at bay after struggling in the back end of the season.
It wasn’t just Kirby’s goal kicking that impressed.
He had a strong game at fullback, covering for the injured Cade Price.
Aaron Wynne also performed well in his return from injury.
Brothers already have plenty of injury concerns, but will be sweating on the fitness of James Hay after he came off with a jaw complaint just weeks after returning from injury.