This lines up as the killer round so far. It might only be the sixth but, with the clock ticking, those who started poorly like Tailem Bend, RSL and Bridge White might be facing their last chance.
Of the three, White are better positioned at the moment than the other two, the problem is for the trio the cards are reading that neither of them can win their assignments this Saturday.
Bridge White vs Karoonda
Both of these two sides, like a few others, are on a mission for points. Karoonda is in the four indicating that they cannot be underestimated.
The players were good enough to claim four points off Jervois last Saturday and to win on two rinks against the quality of that side was a mighty effort.
It’s important now that they perform away from home this time at Murray Bridge, there is no good reasoning for that to be a disadvantage. Skippers Ian Symonds, Gary Zadow and Josh Porker are the real deal and I see the rest of the team now good enough and ready to deliver the goods.
White struck an inspired Mannum side last Saturday and fell short with only the one point gathered, there is no doubt they need more than that. Skippers Les Trewren, Ted Baxter and Chester Moore will be aware of the big challenge they have to get their teams over the line.
I reckon the Malleeites can win this by 1–10 and show they are just as good away from the grass green.
Jervois vs Tailem Bend
Tailem Bend only performed on the one rink last Saturday and that is far from good enough if you are serious about getting off the bottom of the ladder.
This is going to be a hard side to conquer to make anyway, but it is also a perfect chance for the players to get back on target, but only if they are prepared to back their skippers Merv Stevens, Duane Edwards and Sam Shepherd to the hilt.
Jervois did receive a bit of a scare, but did get away with a 10 shot win despite losing on two rinks that weren’t marginal losses anyway and another thing skipper Graham Fromm played with his arm heavily bandaged.
David Kempe who doesn’t lose too many, that leaves the other in form skipper Graeme Herbert who salvaged the win.
It all looks too big a mountain for Tailem to climb so I will go for Jervois to win by 11-20.
RSL vs Mannum
The Mannum players did need a confidence boost after a complete black out a couple of fixtures back, they did respond to it with a very good win back at home. Back on the road again, it remains to be seen how they perform this time.
I have a feeling skippers Graham Wakefield, Lynton Jones and Peter Wegener are looking ahead and not back they will be prepared for a big showing making them hard to beat.
RSL is coming off the bye which they probably didn’t want at this point in time, they really would have benefited getting straight back into harness, although ‘the Mayor’ might have appreciated putting the feet up.
The side only performed on one rink last start and it’s rare to get a good result when that happens. So the teams of Tony Gill and Gary Daniel need to be up and running to take some pressure off Noel Kneebone.
It will be played at RSL, but I am thinking Mannum will be too strong overall and get the favourable result by 11-20 shots.
Some very interesting clashes coming up in this division.
Jervois Black vs Mannum Green
Jervois Black is challenging for the position and the way the teams are playing it’s odds on they will take over. Black’s are at home to Bridge Green and are favourites to get through it all depends on how many points they can tally up. Green are in the middle of the field but more than capable of emerging the winners. Even so I’m tipping Black by 1– 10.
Jervois Red vs Meningie
Jervois Red is not travelling all that well at the moment and will find it tough to match it with Meningie. The Lakesiders are not going as well as expected, but should be good enough to make a positive move towards the leaders and get up by 11-20. A bit more if they are at full strength.
Karoonda vs RSL
RSL dug deep last Saturday and came up with a morale-boosting win. The big question is can they do it again this time at Karoonda?
Well the answer is yes, but perhaps not. The Karoonda dudes are very hard to beat at their own dwelling so I will stick with them by 1-10 shots.
Bridge Red vs Tailem Bend
Reds are sitting in third spot compared to their opponents who have only one side below them, Reds are coming off the bye so to be still third is not a bad achievement.
Tailem on the other hand is struggling to get it all together, it could happen this week but just for now Reds are going the better and are favoured to win by 1-10.
Now it has settled down, this has all the signs of being a very fine even competition with the top four positions all up for grabs. Mannum Green are top, ahead of Murray Bridge by eight points, then Mannum Gold are two points clear of Jervois.
Karoonda is four points outside the four with Tailem Bend and RSL faced with a steep uphill climb.
Mannum Green vs Mannum Gold
Any derby is always a good one, and this one promises to be a beauty. Green are top, with Gold in third position and to make it even more interesting both had quality wins last Saturday.
Green’s higher position prompts me to select them by 1-10 in a high standard contest.
Karoonda vs RSL
After a fine win Karoonda is placed just outside the four which puts the side in a very sound position to win this game at home. It will desperately hard for RSL to cause an upset, there is no doubt the teams will be in the running for a long time but at the finish it will be Karoonda by 11-20.
Karoonda should win in all three divisions, keeping the people in the Mallee ecstatic.
Tailem Bend vs Jervois
Both of these sides are coming off losses but Jervois is much better credentialed than their opponents, Tailem has been around the place but struggles to get over the line whereas Jervois has picked up points from here and there, which places them fourth.
I’ll go for Jervois to win by 11-20.
Murray Bridge vs Meningie
The Bridge is second and on the lookout for top spot but even with a win won’t make it this Saturday, Meningie is third to bottom but certainly not out of calculations as they are not all that far off the pace.
I reckon the way the program has been redrawn will suit Murray Bridge so with that in mind I will say the teams between them can make an impression with a 11-20.