Viking Park rumbled under hundreds of stamping feet as the Canberra Vikings wound down the clock to secure a semi-final spot in the National Rugby Championship.
A late NSW Country Eagles surge threatened to derail the Vikings finals charge, but the home side held on to claim a crucial 27-19 win on Friday night.
The Vikings have set their sights on winning their maiden NRC title after finishing second on the ladder and securing a home semi-final.
But they clocked off early against NSW Country and let in two late tries, robbing them a chance to catch the Western Force on top of the ladder.
"We really need to close down our games better because we can't just look to defend, we need to keep playing," winger Tom Banks said.
"We let them get the moment which really hurt us but our defence held strong, so we're happy with that. The Eagles really took it to us."
NSW Country Eagles broke the deadlock in the sixth minute when Mark Nawaqanitawase intercepted the ball on their ten metre line and flew down the field to score.
But Canberra responded minutes later when Toni Pulu scored off an Irae Simone grubber to the right-hand corner.
Scumhalf Ryan Lonergan missed the conversion but then gave Canberra their first lead of the match after NSW Country conceded a penalty and were dished a team warning for constant infringements around the ruck.
The first-half continued to see-saw but Canberra took all the momentum into the break when Len Ikitau extended their lead in the 29th minute.
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Ikitau picked up a rolling loose ball at halfway and flew down the left sideline with Joey Walton hot on his heels. The fleet-footed Viking was too quick for the Eagles centre, dived past the try line and the crowd erupted with cheers.
The Vikings looked like they were going to cruise through to victory when Pete Samu and Tom Banks kicked off the second half to a strong start with two tries.
"They had [Tom Horton] sent to the bin so we took advantage of that," Vikings coach Nick Scrivener said.
"We managed to score some points in that period which was really good."
But that's when their attacking brilliance began to crumble.
The Vikings began to sweat and flicked their eyes between towards the clock as NSW Country fought back and narrowed the margin to seven points.
Flanker Maclean Jones scored off a rolling maul, before Jake Gordon broke through the Vikings defence to score in the 64th minute.
Scrivener's men spent the rest of the match defending their line as the Eagles eyed a late upset.
"We were letting them back in," Scrivener said.
"We were getting penalties and losing field position. I was more happy with our defence than our attack but it was intense at the end.
"Our forwards were very good and our back row was sensational. They were very tough and got us some crucial turnovers at important times."
The last two semi-finals spots will be decided on Saturday, with only three points separating NSW Country at third (16 points) and Brisbane City who sit sixth.
Brisbane will take on seventh placed Melbourne City at Bottomley Park, while Queensland Country (fourth) and Fijian Drua (fifth) battle for a position.
"Lots of things can happen, I'm glad we're not involved in any of those things," Scrivener said.
"It really doesn't matter. We're just going to worry about playing here next week and whoever we play, we'll be ready for them."
NRC ROUND SEVEN
CANBERRA VIKINGS 27 (Pulu, Ikitau, Samu, Banks tries; Lonergan 2 conversions, 1 penalty goal) bt NSW COUNTRY EAGLES 19 (Nawaqanitawase, Jones, Gordon tries; O'Shea 2 conversion)