With two matches remaining in the Sharman Cup qualifying series, the Otara Scorpions believe they are playing sudden-death football right now as they scrap to secure a place in the competition proper which begins next month.
Sitting fourth currently, the last of the promotion positions, the Scorpions are tied on six points with the team above and behind them, with a 2-2 record.
On top of their precarious position on the qualification ladder, the Scorpions also face encounters against two teams above them – Bay Roskill and New Lynn – to finish the campaign, leaving captain Terrence Montgomery to declare his side are now in must-win territory
“It’s pretty much do-or-die for us to join the top four, we have got to win these last two and make sure we advance to the Sharman,” Montgomery told kiwileaguecentral.com.
“The situation isn’t the best but everyone is keeping positive and we know we have the ability to make it.
“We have some really good teams in our group but we also have the belief that we can match it with them.”
After suffering back-to-back defeats at the hands of Hibiscus Coast (26-22) and second division newcomers Otahuhu (22-12), the Scorpions bounced back to secure a late win over East Coast Bays a fortnight ago.
New coach Shontayne Taratu said the quality of the group meant a genuine Sharman Cup contender was likely to miss out on advancing past the qualification stage.
“It is a hard one, it’s a bit of a pool of death, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. We sort of saw at the start that our qualification group was tough, and some of the teams who miss out from our group could be good sides,” Taratu said.
“The competition is of good quality and there is some good football being played right across the board.”
Otara host Bay Roskill at Ngati Otara Park on Saturday, with the match kicking off at 2.30pm.