Gunnedah will go into Saturday's crucial top-the-table away clash against Inverell missing several key players due to work commitments - hindering their bid to secure a home final against the Saints.
Whoever wins the match will finish the regular season atop the table and secure a home final against the loser in a fortnight, with the winner of that match booking a grand final spot.
Bulldogs coach Doug Meagher listed five players who would miss Saturday's clash due to work commitments.
But in a sign we are in the business end of the season and much is at stake, he requested their names but withheld from this article.
If reigning premiers Inverell win on Saturday, they will finish the season on nine wins - the same number as Gunnedah. However, Inverell would have a superior percentage.
Both sides have a bye in next weekend's final round.
"I would have loved to have taken a full side up there to really test us to see where we're at," Meagher said.
"So I'm very disappointed we haven't. But it's country footy and people have got work. And, you know, their work commitments are their livelihood - and not football."
He said "four or five" of the players missing due to work commitments would be in his best 22 players.
As such, he said the Bulldogs would need "a bit of luck" to win on Saturday.
"But never mind, we'll go up there and give it our best shot and what will be will be, and we'll plan for the fortnight later," he said.
To beat the Saints, Meagher said Gunnedah needed to do "everything pretty well".
"We need to move the ball well, we need to be efficient with our ball movement, we need to use some of our strength, which is we're quicker [than Inverell], I believe, overall," he said.
"They're physically bigger and stronger, so we're gonna need to move the ball with speed and accuracy and kick straight."
The last time the two sides met, Gunnedah won by 11 points at Wolseley Oval.