NEAR enough against the reigning RFL premiers is not good enough for Griffith Swans coach Brandon Mathews.
But Sunday's heartbreaking four-point loss to Coolamon has still filled the club with hope a finals appearance isn't out of the question despite a poor 1-3 start to the season.
The Swans host Mangoplah-CUE tomorrow at Exies Oval and will be feeling confident after pushing the Hoppers all the way in a thriller at Kindra Park.
Mathews said he was pleased to see his players respond after a shocking performance against the Wagga Tigers.
"We're disappointed to lose but whoever won would have felt lucky, put it that way," he said.
"Everyone was disappointed because it went down to the wire.
"We had our chances and it's a shame to not get the chocolates but at least the effort is there.
"I suppose it had to be - if they have any pride in what they do they had to do something.
"But I'm not really into honourable losses.
"At least they can see now if they perform every week and be a bit more team-orientated, we can compete with anyone."
Griffith will not be able to call on new faces Michael Handby and Josh Hamilton tomorrow after the pair played key roles in the Coolamon loss.
Handby returns to Yarrawonga while Hamilton is unavailable until after the bye against Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong due to work commitments.
However, while Che Jenkins (ankle) is also ruled out, Mathews said Dean Crack (knee), James Fallon (hamstring) and Mick Duncan (quad) are all 50-50 chances of returning from injury.
"These other boys have to come back in so it's much of a muchness, I suppose, to lose those two," he said.
"To get some of those senior boys back would be gold."
Mangoplah is coming off the bye and are 2-1 for the year after beating Collingullie-AK and Leeton-Whitton and losing to Coolamon earlier this year.