Andre Payette was a happy man despite his Sheffield Steeldogs side going down 5-3 to the league champion Telford Tigers.
Janis Ozolins, Greg Wood and Steve Duncombe scored the goals against the expensively-assembled squad.
Payette said: “That was the best we’ve played all season against Telford, we should have won. Ozi missed two breakaways and we had other chances hit the metalwork. It was a very physical game, the guys put everything on the line. If we play the way we did I think we might surprise a few people in the playoffs.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team; their budget is probably three times ours. Dalibor Sedlar was our man of the match - it was the best he’s played all season. We’re looking forward to the play-offs now. We have some surprises we didn’t show them tonight, we can beat them.
“Sunday will be massive, our last home game before the playoffs and we want to go in to them on a winning streak. We are going to honour (former coach) Jonny Rowbotham and raise his banner before the game so it’s a big Sheffield night and we hope we get a big crowd to send us into the play-offs on a winning note.”