Most sides are a game away from either elation or despair ? nor are any teams safe quite yet. Bonnyrigg look comfortable but haven?t wrapped up the minor premiership just yet, while Fairfield look gone at the bottom, yet still hang on to a thin ray of hope. In between is an absolute dogfight for finals positions. Every match is shaping up to be a beauty!
They only sit a position apart on the Super League table but St George Saints and Mount Druitt Town Rangers have a different goal in mind at Belmore Sportsground on Saturday night (7.30pm kick-off). St George will want to bank points to support a late surge into the top-five (behind some catch-up game results), while Mount Druitt can assure their place in next year?s competition if they?re the winners. The Saints will be extra wary of the Rangers after losing 3-2 to them at Popondetta earlier this year. They also succumbed to Mount Druitt 2-0 at home in 2007.
Central Coast Lightning will attempt to steal Granville Rage?s top-five spot at Garside Park on Saturday night (7.30pm). The Coasters are prowling just outside the top-five and can draw level with fourth-placed Granville with a weekend win. The Rage have shaped into a solid outfit in 2008 and beat the Lightning 2-1 at Pluim Park in round 10. A win to Granville will almost guarantee their spot in the finals. With so much to play for, for both sides, the real winners will be the fans on the fence.
A top-three treat sees Bossy Liverpool take on leaders Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Ernie Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon (3pm kick-off). The local derby always produces a hot affair, and this neighbourhood stoush should be no different. A draw will be good enough for the White Eagles to claim the minor premiership, and they?ll feel extra confident behind an unbeaten Super League record against Bossy. Liverpool has scored just one goal (and pocketed one scoreless draw) in five league clashes against their cross-town rivals, but did do extremely well in a 1-0 loss at Bonnyrigg earlier this year.
Fraser Park will find their true character when they tackle second-placed Parramatta Eagles at Melita Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The visitors have their backs against the wall after such a bright season in 2008 ? a finals berth dangling tantalisingly in front of them. A shock 2-1 loss to Uni last week took the winds out of Fraser Park?s sails, but a spirited attitude around the club may just be good enough to lift them against a well-drilled Parramatta side. The Eagles have won their last two encounters against Fraser Park, and come off a 2-0 win over third-place Liverpool last week.
Northern Tigers welcome Rockdale City Suns to their Mills Park lair on Sunday afternoon (3pm) in a battle that could decide one or both team?s finals destiny. Rockdale have placed their noses into the top-five, but will rely on other teams losing some catch-up games before the rest of the body can follow. The Tigers have leapt from the shadows to be finals contenders, and a convincing 5-2 win over Fairfield last week has put them within striking distance of a top-five. It was 3-3 the last time they at Rockdale, so expect excitement-plus.
There?ll be just as much anticipation in the bottom-of-the-table clash between Fairfield City Lions and Sydney University at Uni Oval on Sunday afternoon (3pm). Successive league victories assured Uni of its Super League place in 2009, but they will still be keen to avenge a 2-1 defeat to Fairfield, when Uni were down and out earlier this season. The Lions are four points behind state second-tier oblivion, and need to win both remaining games ? and rely on Mount Druitt losing theirs ? to have any chance of redemption next year.
-By Daniel De Nardi