Dwyer: GI in box seat with three rounds to go

No. 11 Stanley McClure and No. 13 Thomas Umaga-Jensen for University of Otago wrap up No. 13 Troy...
No. 11 Stanley McClure and No. 13 Thomas Umaga-Jensen for University of Otago wrap up No. 13 Troy Anstiss for Kaikorai during their match at the university Oval last Saturday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
The wrap

Kaik did enough to edge Varsity at the Oval and slide into third spot, but the "Bookies" were their own worst enemies again and should have possibly won the game. Taieri finally got their second win of the season when they comfortably accounted for winless AU at the Pony Pit to hit double figures for the season. GI stormed to the top of the table by a point from Southern when they proved too good for Harbour at the Toolbox. Is the Gallaway now in their grasp? Dunedin consigned Southern to their second loss of the season, both to the aforementioned. Dunedin’s young outside backs stamped some class on proceedings as they put 50 on the defending champs.


The big finish

With three rounds to go, GI are in the box seat. They lead by one point from Southern with them to play, followed by Varsity and Dunedin. Southern then have the bye and finish with Kaik. Kaik are six points adrift of Southern and have Zingari, Taieri and Southern to go. Dunedin are nine points behind Southern with AU, Zingari and GI to go. Zingers are on the same points as Dunedin and have Kaik, Dunedin and AU to finish. Varsity cannot make the top four. The Southern v GI game is crucial this weekend and whoever wins that will probably win the Gallaway Trophy. Kaik could win two of their last three games and could snatch it. Dunedin should win at least two of their last three but I think second or third is their best option. Zingers’ best option would be third but that is unlikely. Prediction: GI, Southern, Dunedin as my top three in that order. They will all be beating each other over the next few weeks, that is guaranteed.


Down on the farm

Only two rounds to go in the North. Everybody is beating everybody up there, but my spies tell me it could be a Valley v Old Boys final. Valley are turning Japanese so have a new lease on life, and the town mob Old Boys are rediscovering past glories. In Central, unbelievably, Upper Clutha have lost a round robin game and the "Horse", all on the same week to Wakatipu. It could mean they finally win the comp. It will be an Upper Clutha v Wakatip final. In the South, it’s down to three teams, Crescent, West Taieri and Clutha. I’m leaning towards a Crescent v West Taieri final. In the deep South, Star are the overwhelming favourites and should take on Pirates Boys in the final.


No depth

The Southern Prems have won the last two banners in Dunedin club rugby and could make it a threepeat as they are only one point out of the lead with three round robin games to go. So you’d assume their club is thriving. Well, that’s not quite the case. They have three other teams in P2s, Prem colts and Junior colts. Combined, those teams have won two games for the season, and their P2 side have those 2 Ws, and they sit second last in that comp. So "JL" the Prem coach has done a marvellous job to keep them at the top. Or is it a case of too many eggs in one basket?


The Otago conundrum

If you’re wondering who will make the Otago team this year, try this. They have already contracted 27 players and I think you’re only allowed around that number anyway. Twenty are Super players — 17 Highlanders, two Crusaders and one from Moana Pasifika. It makes me wonder why we run a squad all year and play trial matches and pull players out of club rugby if they can’t play for Otago anyway. Also probably why so many imports are singing with Southland — no room at the inn!


Women’s semis

The women’s semifinals are on tomorrow with AU (top seeds) taking on Varsity (fourth seed) and Dunedin (second seed) taking on Big River (third seed). AU are the playing-through champs and favourites for the title. They lost to Big River last weekend but should master an inconsistent Varsity outfit in the first semi at the North Ground. Dunedin should be too strong for Big River at Shark Park but don’t discount Clutha — they’ll give it a shake. I did a Rugby Chat yesterday with Eilis Doyle from AU and Julia Gorinski from Varsity (odt.co.nz) who have bought up their 100 games for their respective clubs in the last few weeks. Congrats on an outstanding milestone.


This weekend

Destroyed Murdoch from the Mornington last week and on to the "Twins" Millie and POD so it just gets easier. I have a feeling Southern (12-) bounce back and tip over GI at Bog Bathgate to get one hand on the Gallaway. Dunedin (13+) should comfortably get the five-pointer over AU at the Sandpit to move up the table. Varsity (13+) head to the Eelpit to take on Taieri and surely take luck out of the equation and just win. Kaik (12-) will get it done on the High Veldt but it could be closer than you think as Zingers have been gearing up for this game all year.

In the Country, I thrashed Grant Milne from Toko last week and on to Jim O’Malley from Arrowtown. He’s made some big calls and could crash and burn but he’s done 16 years as club captain at Arrow so he can do what he likes! Upper Clutha (13+) will beat Alex at home on the lake. The Goats (13+) will be too strong for Matak up front. Wakatip (12-) will struggle against the Maggots but will do enough late to win it.


Late mail

Ben Miller plays his 100th game for Kaik tomorrow. Good on ya mate.