Two converted tries is all that stopped Wagga City from playing finals.
After a dramatic final week in Southern Inland, which saw two midweek ladder alterations, the Boiled Lollies' 40-7 win over Tumut at Jarrah Oval on Saturday wasn't quite enough.
After initially receiving a win as Albury were penalised for using an unregistered player, which was later downgraded to a draw on appeal, Wagga City needed to make up a points differential of 55 against the Steamers to play finals.
However they fell 13 points short.
Despite missing out, coach James Curgenven was pleased with their performance against the Bulls.
"The boys did everything I asked of them with the season on the line," Curgenven said. "We had a big win over Tumut, which is something we hadn't done all year.
"We got to fair few points but not enough.
"I was a big ask to get a 50-point turnaround on the plus and minus so we wish Albury all the best against Griffith next week."
Wagga City flew out to a 21-0 lead after 18 minutes before their progress stalled in trying conditions.
The Bulls opened the scoring in the second half before a flurry of tries put Wagga City on the cusp of going from winless wooden spooners to finalists in a season but they ran out of time.
Despite missing out, Curgenven is pleased with the progress the club has made.
"With the side we had I thought we would be able to get into finals, and we got very close to it, but there's a few games that let us down," he said.
A horror second half against Leeton last month and a draw with Tumut are a couple Curgenven thought proved costly.
However Wagga City are the only side to beat both Ag College and Waratahs this season as the two grand finalists from last season clash for a place in this year's decider on Saturday.