Souths have managed to stay alive in the reserve grade competition despite being punished by Newcastle Rugby League for fielding an ineligible player in the opening week of the finals series.
The Lions are now one win away from reaching the 2019 grand final having beaten Kurri Kurri in Saturday's re-scheduled minor semi.
Souths faced elimination in week two of the play-offs after Newcastle RL officials found the offence, forfeiting a 21-20 win over Cessnock in the qualifying semi-final on September 1 and swapping spots with the Goannas.
The Lions now travel to St John Oval for Sunday's preliminary final and again tackle the Goannas, who went down 38-10 to Western Suburbs in the major semi.
Ryan Pywell was the player in question for Souths, having featured mainly in first grade during 2019 and falling short of the three games required to qualify for reserves.
Previously, under Country Rugby League guidelines, having consecutive grades (firsts and reserves) in finals waved that quota but the goalposts shifted slightly last year with NSW Rugby League at the helm.
Newcastle RL chief executive officer Matt Harris said clubs had been "warned" ahead of the semis and encouraged to submit team sheets early when possible.
Elsewhere in lower grade play-offs, minor premiers Wests have already progressed to grand finals in reserves and opens. The Rosellas then have chances to reach deciders this weekend in women's Blues Tag and under-19s, meeting Souths and Cessnock respectively.
Kurri and Maitland go head-to-head in the opens preliminary final at Charlestown.
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