It’s not technically all or nothing for the top-two clubs, but Saturday night’s blockbuster between Myrtleford and Melrose at Savoy Park will have huge consequences on the outcome of the league title race.
Both sides have been more than happy to brush off the favourties tag ahead of the massive clash.
Myrtleford midfielder Jesse Stephens believes Melrose will be hard to catch if they can get a result.
“If they win they’re pretty good odds to go on and win the title,” Stephens said.
“Even a draw would still put them in the box seat, so it’s a huge game.
“They’re favourites with the position they’re in and they’ve got the best run in.
“I think they’ve played the main sides that would be likely to take points off them already in this half of the season, so they’re definitely in the box seat.”
Defender Raul Pahina remains in doubt with illness, while co-coaches Jayden Vescio and Matt Park, as well as Will Keenan will also miss.
But Stephens admitted there’s still plenty of resolve around the group.
“It was very disappointing to lose last week, but we know if we get the win we’re outright top and it’s in our hands from then on,” he said.
“As much as we’re knocked about with injuries, we still feel like we can do it from here.”
Melrose coach Kade Rixon has only had one win against the Savoys since his time at the helm and is keen for another.
“I don’t think this weekend is going to decide a league or anything like that, but it’s the only team we haven’t beaten (this year), Rixon said.
“We’ve got our own little challenge at the moment to put one over Myrtleford this week.
“It puts us two games clear of Myrtleford with six to go and depending on Wang’s result on Sunday, but we don’t look too far ahead.”
Centre back Josh O’Brien returns from suspension, while striker Trent Rixon is also available, but right back Todd Meehan will miss at least another game following surgery last week.
“We’re still debating who will play that other centre back role,” Rixon said.
“We had two boys play there on Sunday (Dylan Howe and Jarryd Bourke), so one of them will no doubt do that role again this weekend and Trent will be right to go Saturday.
“If you roll the ball into ‘Howey’ you can trust he’s going to keep it.
“He’s not going to spread 30, 40-yard balls, we’ve got other boys in the team that can play that role, but he’s an important player.”
Rixon like the idea of playing Saturday night, despite not having the best of luck.
“I think last three night games I’ve played in, I’ve torn three hamstrings,” he laughed.
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