The Moree Boomerangs will have to win this weekend's preliminary final to stay alive after going down to the Glen Innes Magpies in the Group 19 major semi final on Sunday.
In blistering conditions, the Magpies were able to withstand an onslaught in the first half before running away with the win in the second, the final score 28-12.
"Those conditions were near non-playable," Boomerangs coach Chris Binge said.
"There was gale force wind. You couldn't pass the ball more than a metre.
"When you're pushing passes from your right hand edge and vice versa to your left hand edge, it went four metres wide instead of hitting the mark."
The Boomerangs got on the scoreboard first through an Ethan Pegus try in the second minute, but weren't able to take advantage of a mountain of early possession.
The Magpies struggled to complete their sets coming out of their own end, gifting Boomerangs the ball in good field position, before repelling them on their try line.
Luke Hodgson evened the game up with a try in the 14th minute, before the Boomerangs retook the lead in the 32nd minute through Richard Simpson to make it 8-4.
It looked like the Boomerangs would head into the break with the lead before Michael Miller crossed the line just seconds before half time to give the Magpies a 10-8 advantage.
That score remained the same for almost 20 minutes into the second half before Isaiah Tunamena scored in the 59th minute to make it 16-8.
From there, the Magpies added two more tries through Guy Mepham and Samuel Schiffman in the next 15 minutes to extend their lead to 20 points before Zac Sampson added a consolation try for the Boomerangs.
Binge wasn't making any excuses, but said those tough conditions were a major factor in the game.
"If the conditions were different, our execution would have been sharper," he said.
"We believe we definitely came up with a game plan to nullify them, it's just a matter of the conditions that impacted.
"We had to adjust everything we trained on all week."
Binge also pointed out that their discipline could be improved, after copping two sin binnings on Sunday.
"The lesson in it for us, regardless of how the game plays, you've got to have 13 blokes on the field at all points of the game," he said.
"We know that and we know we can be better."
The Boomerangs now return home to Moree this weekend to take on the Narwan Eels, who escaped with a 33-32 win over the Moree Boars in the minor semi final.
Binge said the side have taken their loss pretty hard but believes we'll see a much improved performance from them against Narwan, particularly in regards to their discipline.
"We know the importance of that game. It's a different competition," he said.
"The Boars did really well against Narwan on the weekend and I think they showed us some areas we can take advantage of.
"We're up against a quality team this weekend in Narwan.
"We're aware of the team we're playing. They'll definitely be here to play the 80 minutes out.
"We've got two weeks to try and put two quality 80 minute sessions together."
The winner of Sunday's preliminary final will advance through to the grand final to take on the Magpies.
It was a poor day of results for the Boomerangs in all grades, with league tag going down 16-6 and the under-18s being defeated 50-18 against the Tingha Tigers, with both sides now eliminated from the competition.
Reserve grade also suffered a heavy defeat, losing 52-22 against Narwan Eels, but they will have a second chance against the Armidale Rams this weekend.