JOHN Kear refused to throw in the play-off towel despite seeing the gap to the top five grow to five points.

A 25-20 defeat to Championship leaders Toronto in a pulsating clash at Odsal has left the Bulls needing big favours elsewhere with only four games left.

Kear’s side led the Wolfpack 18-4 at half-time before being picked off with three quickfire tries in an 11-minute burst after the restart.

A second successive loss against top-five opposition has now left them on the brink of being eliminated from the play-off race but Kear will not concede defeat just yet.

He said: “While it’s mathematically attainable, we’ll go for it.

“I was confident if we had beaten Toronto it would have gone to the last day of the season.

“I’m not as confident now but we’ll have to wait and see because there will be twists and turns.

“We’ve got to dust ourselves down and keep fighting to the very end.

“We need a lot of things to go our way now but you never know.”

Toronto, who have already secured the league leaders shield, have won 17 on the bounce since their only defeat against Toulouse.

Kear insists his players can take heart from running them so close.

“We couldn’t be beaten for effort and attitude,” he added.

“I think they are a Super League team in disguise and we acquitted ourselves well.

“They’ve got quality throughout the team and Jon Wilkin is the best player in this division. He demonstrated that with his cleverness and how he changed tactics mid-game.

“They got us in the 10 minutes after half-time. They came out with real intent, it was seven sets to two in that period and they scored three tries.

“That stopped their seeds of doubt and allowed them to go back to normal. Obviously, we’d invested so much in the first half and we were down on energy.

“It was as if we were trying to cling on rather than create stuff. They came out all guns blazing and we knew they would.

“There have been some monumental performances but it’s just come down to one or two tiny things that have cost us the game.

“It’s another kick in the teeth for us.

“There’s an argument in both this game and against York that we were the best team. But the scoreboard doesn’t say that.

“The result hurts now but we can go forward in a positive manner.”