Plenty to play for in derby

Even for a derby game, this one will have plenty of extra meaning.

Green Island is looking to hold its spot in football’s South Island league.

Mosgiel is trying to take it.

A two-game promotion-relegation tie will be played today and next Saturday, the latest instalment of the ‘‘Battle of the Saddle’’.

It is a high-stakes game as South Island football completes its transition to the new national league era.

While this year the teams played locally to qualify for the South Island league, next year the leagues will be separated.

The teams at South Island level will only play in that league.

The only way up or down will be the promotion-relegation tie.

In March the teams played a thrilling 3-3 draw at Memorial Park, a feisty game which featured 10 cards. Mosgiel won a shortened return game — due to poor conditions — 4-0 at Sunnyvale.

But it was Green Island that finished stronger to claim a South Island league place.

It slumped to the finish as the lowest southern team in that league, though. Mosgiel avenged itself to claim the Championship title.

They enter today’s match at Logan Park Turf under vastly different circumstances. Green Island had last week off, but is carrying the niggles of a tough South Island league season which included three games in the final seven days.

Mosgiel, on the other hand has not played in over two months.

‘‘Obviously there’s some pretty big challenges there,’’ Mosgiel coach Cam McPhail said.

‘‘But we’ve been training really hard over the last two weeks to get the boys as ready as they possibly can be to go out there and be competitive.’’

He expected a bit of rust early on and fitness to be tested in the final 15 minutes.

The flip side to that was his players were all in good health and Mosgiel should have a full squad to pick from.

Green Island coach Shane Carvell said his team had to manage its players well through the last week of its season.

Illness had swept through the squad during that time as well.

While it had come out the other side of that now, there were still niggles to contend with.

The rest week had been beneficial, although the conditions this weekend could be another interesting factor.

"Having last weekend off was a good thing,’’ Carvell said.

‘‘But now it’s sort of into these next two weekends. On the turf for us is always an interesting proposition.

‘‘We’re not a team that’s had a lot of time on the turf. It’s a surface that in the past has either been good to us or it hasn’t. So it’ll be an interesting proposition.’’

The match kicks off at 1pm. The second leg of the tie will be played next week at Tahuna Park.



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