IT IS do or die for Hunslet Hawks at home to Featherstone Rovers tonight.
With two to go down, Hawks are second from bottom in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield table going into their penultimate game.
Whitehaven and Batley Bulldogs, who Hawks face at Mount Pleasant next weekend, are both two points better off and have a huge advantage on for and against.
“If we lose, we are relegated,” Hawks coach Barry Eaton admitted.
“Because of points difference, it is almost an impossibility for us to not win and still potentially stay up by winning next week.
“We know what the situation is and, in effect, it is like a Grand Final qualifier.”
Rovers are top of the Shield table, but Hawks have won their last three games to give themselves a glimmer of hope.
“When you look at Featherstone’s expenditure and things like that, we are massive underdogs going into this game,” Eaton said.
“But we have been all year. We haven’t got anything to lose and we are just going to give it our best shot and go for it.”
Rovers have already secured a semi-final place, but Eaton is not expecting them to ease off tonight – particularly after a home defeat by Dewsbury Rams last Sunday.
“They are professional players,” he said. “If they did it would be a disappointed club, chairman and coach. They will be wanting to win – they will want to go into the play-offs in good form.
“We expect them to be at their best, but if we are going to stay up we have got to beat good teams and they are a good team.”
Rovers boss Jon Sharp is hoping to have several players back from injury tonight and is looking for his team to be more clinical near their opponents’ line.
Sharp felt missed chances cost Rovers last week and he said: “Hunslet will be a challenge.
“They are fighting for their lives, they are desperate and they’ll be full of enthusiasm.
“We need to handle that desperation and match their enthusiasm.
“They have beaten London and Whitehaven in recent weeks and anybody who can do that is a good team.
“They have earned the right to be still in the battle, when most people had written them off.”