Premierships on the Line Heading Detail
Two Country Zone Premierships will be decided this weekend, while a host of Semi-Final and Final Series will be contested across the state in the other zones.
In a repeat of last year’s grand final, the Mid North Coast Southern Competition will see the Old Bar Beach Clams (1) defending the premiership against the Forster Tuncurry Dolphins (2) at Old Bar Beach. The teams met in the major semi-final and the Clams got away with a one point win, while the Dolphins had to overcome Gloucester in a hard fought final last week to advance to the decider. The Clams will be counting on their big forward pack to lay the foundation, while the Dolphins will be looking to secure quick ball and to get it wide to their outside backs.
The New England grand final will be played at the University of New England, Armidale and will feature the Armidale Blues (1) and the Guyra Ghosts (2) in what is a repeat of the major semi-final. The Ghosts will be keen to reverse the semi-final result in order to cap off a resurgence season which has seen the club once again become a force in the zone, while the Blues will be looking to turn their minor premiership into a premiership.
Woy Woy Oval will be the venue for the Central Coast minor semi-final which will see neighbouring clubs the Ourimbah Razorbacks (3) and Gosford Red Devils (4) go head to head. The clubs have met twice in the last three weeks with each registering a win, so the result will be hard to pick and will come down to which team takes opportunities on the day.
The Quirindi Colts (3) will host the Narrabri Blue Boars (4) at Quirindi Rugby Park in the Central North minor semi-final. Both clubs come into the match with form on the board, with the Colts enjoying a four match winning run into the semi-finals, while the Blue Boars winning sequence was broken last week with a narrow lose to the minor premiers Inverell.
Central West will stage a double header semi-final weekend which will see the major semi-final played at Narromine on Saturday and the minor semi-final played at Orange on Sunday.
The Narromine Gorillas (1) and Bathurst Bulldogs (2) meet in the major semi-final with the match set to be one of the highlights of the season. The Gorillas stormed home to claim the minor premiership and will be looking to advance straight to the grand final, while the Bulldogs are coming off a comprehensive win last weekend and will want to maintain their momentum.
Orange City (3) and CSU Bathurst (4) will contest the minor semi-final with the loser bowing out for the season. Each team had different results last week, the Lions suffered a crushing lose to the Bulldogs while the Students had to work hard to overcome the Dubbo Roos to stay alive in the final series. Both teams know this weekend is “make or break” and won’t be holding anything back in what should be a very close match.
The Far North Coast major semi-final will be staged at Lennox Head on Saturday and will involve the Lennox Head Trojans (1) and Wollongbar Alstonville Pioneers (2). Both teams have been the form teams of the competition throughout the year, but the Trojans will go into the match holding a slight advantage over the Pioneers given the results during the year.
The Mid North Coast Northern Competition will stage their preliminary final between the Hastings Valley Vikings (2) and Coffs Crushers (3) at Port Macquarie. Both teams will be backing up from tough matches last weekend, which saw the Vikings going down to Port Macquarie and the Crushers overcoming their sister club the Breakers in a tight encounter.
A double header weekend will be staged in the Hunter with the Newcastle Hunter zone conducting their qualifying and elimination semi-finals.
The Hamilton Hawks (2) and Newcastle Wanderers (3) will contest the qualifying semi-final on Saturday at Hamilton in what should be a very even match. The Hawks have had mixed results over the latter part of the season, while the Wanderers finished the last round of the competition on a high with a solid win over the Hawks.
On Sunday the action will move to Maitland where the Maitland Blacks (4) will host Newcastle University (5) in the elimination semi-final. The Blacks have had a consistent season and will be looking to advance further on in the final series, while the Students will be out to maintain their late season form which saw them claim their spot in the semi-finals.
The action out west will see the battle of the Rams when Walgett (1) and Coonamble (2) contest the Western Plains major semi-final at Walgett. Both teams have dominated the competition with the competition lead chopping and changing throughout the season. Walgett will go into the match as slight favourites due to the home ground advantage, but Coonamble will be keen to take out the match in order to host the grand final.
Illawarra will stage the last round of their competition, with the focus being on the final standing of Tech Waratahs, Shamrocks, Shoalhaven and University behind Vikings who have already clinched the minor semi-final.
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are available on the Country Webpage www.nswcountryrugby.com.au