Can Pioneers corral Casinos Bulls?
Far North Coast Rugby Union moves into its last thrilling round this Saturday with three teams Casino, Wollongbar and Ballina all locked together on 49 points and fighting for a spot in the finals.
Consequently, the match up between the Wollongbar/Alstonville Pioneers and the Casino Bulls takes on epic proportions as the loser is almost certainly knocked out, unless Ballina at home go down to Southern Cross University.
In conditions described as appalling and arctic, the Pioneers fought out an engrossing 10-all draw against the Yamba Buccaneers in Yamba on Saturday. The draw assured Yamba a spot in the finals in what is only their second year back in the first grade. But it did little for the Pioneers, who now have to take on the Bulls, who are on a roll having won their last three on the trot. Their last match against the Coolangatta/Tweed Baa Baas was a 15 try romp, but whether such a soft game is the right preparation for this weekends decider is debatable.
Meanwhile, Ballinas winning streak reaches back four games, including a massive 64-7 win over Lennox Head on Saturday. Again, their problems might arise from not playing any serious competition for many weeks, and of course how determined the Gold Rats are to end the season on high note.
Of the other matches to be played, Lismore takes on Tweed in Tweed Heads, and in a possible grand final preview, Yamba take on the all-conquering Grafton Redmen in Yamba. Both games start at 3.10pm.