And then there were three
The pointy end of the season continues to produce twists and turns, as well as fantastic football spectacles. The excitement, ecstasy and extremes of emotion ebb and flow as players and spectators live every play, willing for victory.
Three teams are left in contention for the title with Lismore Richmond Rovers already preparing for the grand final on Saturday, September 22. Their opponent will be decided on Sunday when Lismore Workers meet defending premiers Goonellabah in the preliminary final, 3pm at Richards Oval.
What a clash this should be with both clubs boasting strong outfits and each capable of blowing the other off the park, but we are more likely to see a close contest with end to end action. Workers will be slight favourites, having had the edge over the Hornets thus far this season - a tag that veteran Goonellabah coach Mark Ambler will relish as he prepares the defending premiers for this do-or-die clash.
Yellow supporters who saw the Batok Ring goal last Saturday will be hoping that he takes that form into this vital game. Hardworking midfielders Shannan Maciejewski and Daniel Bonesi epitomize the fast pace of Ambler coached teams, using their superior physical fitness to gain an advantage. Cerys Hawkins and Daniel Rose are other players who contribute with solid football that may not be flashy but is effective.
The Redmen will be bitterly disappointed if their season is cut short without even getting to the grand final. Scott Collis has moulded a strong squad of individuals into a beautifully blended team of youth and experience, playing wonderful football most of the season. Their momentum stalled in the final weeks with a shock loss to Italo Stars, seeing their strong grip on the pointscore title slip from their grasp.
Workers have a squad that includes 2012 player of the Year Martin Kelleher, ageless warrior Wayne Mortimer, midfield general Clint Willoughby and ultra competitive utility player Bill Latimer. The balance of the team consists of footballers with skill, composure and capacity to give the Redmen a chance to contest the club's first tilt at the men's premier title since winning it in 2004.
On their home turf at Richards Oval, Workers will be very hard to beat and with an expected massive home crowd cheering them on, they will be hard to run down if the Hornets fall behind. Do not be surprised if extra time and a penalty shoot has to decide this one.