The placings for the 2018 competition have now been decided and there will be no change regardless of the outcome of the Titikaveka Bulldogs versus Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles and TKV Warriors versus Arorangi Bears clashes.
The Bulldogs and Sea Eagles, placed third and fourth respectively, are likely to rest their key players in today’s match ahead of their battle in the preliminary finals next weekend.
The Meti Noovao-coached Bulldogs have played the top two teams, Tupapa Panthers and Avatiu Nikao Eels, in the past three weeks. The tough encounters in which they prevailed took a toll on the Bulldogs players.
CI News understands the defending champions will be resting at least six of their key players against the Sea Eagles at home today.
The Sea Eagles will also want to play it safe to ensure they have the best side available to take on the Bulldogs in the do-or-die clash next week.
However, given the rivalry between the two clubs, they are expected to come out firing to ensure they end the preliminary round of the competition on a high.
In the other match, the Warriors will be eyeing their first win of the season when they host the Bears at the Happy Valley.
Although a win would be an uphill battle for the minnows, the Bears’ current form should provide some hope to the Warriors in their hope of ending their campaign with a win.
The premier matches will kick off at 4pm at both venues.
Teimurimotia Park, Titikaveka: 2.30pm Premier Reserves, Bulldogs v Eels; 4pm Premiers, Bulldogs v Sea Eagles. Tomorrow at Happy Valley, Takuvaine: 2.30pm Reserves, Warriors v Bears; 4pm Premiers. Avatiu Eels have the bye.
The draw for the playoffs next week – all games will be at the National Stadium:
Friday, May 18: Team 1 versus Team 2. Saturday, May 19: 11am Junior development; 1.30pm Premier Reserves, Team 3 versus Team 4; 3pm Premier Reserves, Team 1 versus Team 2; 4.30pm Premiers, Team 3 v Team 4.
No game for U19s as the overall top of the table points leader will go straight to the finals with the two remaining teams playing off in the semifinals on Saturday, May 26.