Finals spots on the line

David Braithwaite

THE winner of Saturday’s clash at Stephenson Park between two-time reigning North Gippsland football premier Sale City and Rosedale will claim fourth spot on the ladder.

The loser’s part in the finals will be determined by the result of Woodside’s match against Gormandale.

The Bulldogs and Blues are level on points, four ahead of Woodside in sixth.

There is more pressure on Rosedale, which has a percentage 18 points lower than Sale City. If it defeats Gormandale, Woodside will need to make up a percentage gap to Sale City of 30 points, and 12 to Rosedale.

Back-to-back wins, including one over minor premier Yarram, have put the spark back into Sale City’s season. The Bulldogs’ 99-point win at Gormandale last weekend gave them a vital percentage boost.

The Blues are coming off a 49-point victory over Glengarry, and will head into Saturday’s contest having defeated the Bulldogs by 17 points at home in round nine.

If Woodside is unable to record a big enough victory tomorrow, the Bulldogs and Blues will meet again eight days later in the elimination final.

FOUR points outside the top five, Woodside needs a percentage-boosting win over Gormandale for a chance of making the finals.

A tough run of matches — winning one of the past four — has seen the Wildcats fall out of the top five. Last weekend, they lost to Yarram by 35 points.

Out of the finals picture, the Tigers have only won one of their past 10 matches, but shouldn’t be daunted by the Wildcats. When the sides last met in round nine, the Wildcats only won by eight points.

TRARALGON-Tyers United and Churchill will meet in a dress rehearsal for the qualifying final the following week.

The Bombers, in second spot on the ladder, defeated the Cougars by  28 points in round nine.

Both notched convincing wins in round 17 — TTU over Heyfield by 87 points and Churchill over Cowwarr by 88.

The Cougars have won their past seven matches, the Bombers three.

HEYFIELD has the chance to finish its season on a winning note, when it heads to Glengarry.

The Kangaroos have lost their past three matches, all against top five sides, but will Saturday meet the Magpies, who are on the bottom of the ladder, having lost their past 12 matches.

HAVING secured the minor premiership, Yarram will head to Cowwarr before its week off to begin the finals.

Liam Farley missed the Demons’ victory over Woodside, but will be in line for selection this weekend after scans revealed he sustained no serious damage to his knee.

Matt Scholz also returned from illness to resume coaching duties, but again won’t play on Saturday.

The ninth-placed Saints will be out to end their season by claiming another big scalp.