Half an hour into yesterday's NRL rugby league contest the Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith felt his finals dream slipping away.
But by the end of the game it was his Manly opposite Des Hasler with the banana skins under his feet after a the Roosters staged a dramatic comeback to win the clash 30-14 in the penultimate round of the competition.
Heading into their clash at the Sydney Football Stadium level on points in the middle of the top eight, this game was always going to be pivotal in deciding the finals fate of both sides.
The Sea Eagles, now need to beat Canterbury on Sunday at Brookvale Oval to guarantee a finals berth, a predicament which may not be helped with Jamie Lyon and Glenn Stewart both put on report and four others - Jason King, Anthony Watmough (both ankle), Steve Matai (shoulder) and Brent Kite (concussion) suffering injuries.
But even that may only be good enough to secure seventh spot if the Warriors and Roosters also win, which would leave them playing sudden death footy throughout the finals.
The weekend's other big loser were Gold Coast, who suffered a shock 30-16 loss to struggling Cronulla on Saturday night.
From a position where they could have been playing off against Wests Tigers at Skilled Park for a top two spot, the Titans could now slip as sixth should they lose to the Tigers and other results go against them.