Perth - The Force kept their hopes of a maiden finals appearance alive with a 30-20 win over the Reds in Perth on Saturday.As it happened: Force v Reds
In an ill-tempered encounter, the Force dominated for long periods but found themselves under siege with 10 minutes to go, before scoring a late try to secure the win.
Unfortunately for the Force, who ran in three tries, they missed the chance to climb to second in the Australian conference when they were unable to add a fourth for a bonus point.
The Force play the Brumbies in Canberra next weekend with their season at stake while the Reds are already out of finals contention and play the Waratahs in the final round.
Force captain Matt Hodgson said the Force simply had to get the win against the Reds.
"We were up and down, but it is good to get a win and stay alive," he said.
"It is tough game going down there (Canberra), but we have put ourselves in this position.
"If we lost this week that was it, and next week will be the same."
For Reds skipper James Horwill, it was another tough loss in a disappointing season.
"We missed opportunities and made silly errors," he said.
Thrashed by the Blues at the same venue last weekend, the Force came out impressively.
Great ball handling by the home side was rewarded when cult hero Nick Cummins scored the opening try of the match in the 10th minute.
The Force held the ball for 14 phases, culminating in Cummins, who during the week announced he was leaving to play in Japan, diving over in the corner.
Cummins was again involved when the Force scored their second try in the 19th minute, through Ben McCalman.
The Force moved the ball well, with McCalman rolling over the try line in a tackle to score.
The Force suffered a setback when Hugh McMeniman was sin-binned for dropping his knee into a Reds player who was lying on ground late in the first half.
But they held firm until a rare Reds attacking foray saw the lively Samu Kerevi break away for his team's first try in the 37th minute.
Although the home team had been in control, the 17-10 scoreline at the break did not reflect their dominance.
A couple of missed penalties threatened to haunt the Force, especially after Albert Anae scored his team's second try.
When the Reds' Mike Harris converted a plenty in the 69th minute, scores were level.
A Jayden Hayward penalty put the Force back in front, before Nathan Charles broke away in the 74th minute to score the try that sealed the win.
The Force picked up four points for their victory, but stayed third in the Australian Conference. They did however move into seventh spot in the Overall standings.
The Reds left empty-handed and stayed fourth and 12th in the Australian Conference and Overall log, respectively.Teams:Force
15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Hugh McMeniman, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan
Substitutes: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Dillyn Leyds, 23 Solomoni RasoleaReds
15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley
Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Tim Buchanan, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Johnson, 23 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi