Dwyer: Seven contenders for playoff spots

Green Island wing Vilimone Bainibure looks to fend Alhambra Union flanker Tyron Pelasio during...
Green Island wing Vilimone Bainibure looks to fend Alhambra Union flanker Tyron Pelasio during their premier club rugby match at Forsyth Bar Stadium last Saturday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
The wrap

We can safely say we are down to seven play-off contenders, but Taieri is hanging by a thread and is seven points adrift of Varsity in sixth spot.

At the same time, it’s been a weird draw where some teams have already played each other twice and Kaik have already had two byes, while four teams have had none.

GI remains top after easing past AU at the Greenhouse with a 40 pointer. Zingari did enough to see off Taieri for the second time in five weeks with an eight-point win. But it had huge ramifications for the Eels in true "English football style", with a coach walking the plank – more soon.

Southern nearly hit 80 in demolishing Harbour down at Port, so where to now for the Hawks?

In the game of the round, Varsity had a four-point lead with 30 seconds to play and somehow conspired to lose. The Sharks turned over the kickoff, went six phases and scored the matchwinner out wide to snatch the win from the jaws of defeat.


Landers in club rugby

We hear all the time about culture in sports teams and what they are doing in communities, and I for one get a tad sceptical. But the Highlanders are converting me.

The lengths they went to embrace the Tongan culture last week was impressive. Now what they are doing with their players in club rugby has gone to the next level.

The players they release to club rugby now attend Tuesday and Thursday night trainings of the clubs they are allocated to, and they are becoming a positive influence at those clubs.

The Highlanders award a player of the day each week to their best player in club rugby. They win a meat pack which is a nice touch. Credit where credit is due, great work.

Watch Landers Chat today where I catch up with the locks Hicks and Plummer, who are both turning out for Zingers this year (odt.co.nz).


What’s happening on the Taieri?

Firstly "Roly" (Murray Roulston), the coach, has fallen on his sword at the Eels after their inauspicious start leaving them with a record of one win from six starts.

Not too much to see here, a bit of a disagreement between Roly and the chairman, but Roly has left on his own terms. Grimey (Graeme Anderson) is still there and "Yards" (Phil Young) is back to help them out. A "super coaching" duo if I’ve ever seen one!

But what is happening at West Taieri? I’m hearing a lot of disturbing rumours out of Outram. Is it the wild west out there?

This is supposed to be the leading club in the South Otago comp. Let’s get this sorted, team.


Some bits

Young Varsity lock Ben Strowger Turnock suffered a serious injury against the Sharks when he was diagnosed with a fractured skull on Saturday night.

He clashed heads with one of his own players during the game but passed his "head knock" protocols and played on. Let’s hope he comes right as soon as possible.

There is a bit of disquiet about this weird rule of having the reserves of both teams on the same side of the field in close quarters on either side of halfway.

Having testosterone filled blokes exhorting their team and berating the other within touching distance of each other to my mind is a recipe for disaster. Brandon (ref development office), you and your team need to reconsider this before we have "incidents".

Speaking of incidents, what’s going on in football with coaches getting stuck into refs at senior level — cease and desist please.

I talked about the pseudo "King of Tonga", Jack O’Dea, last week visiting Tonga and a potential meeting with the real king. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but a lot of less-than-becoming "shots" of KOT at the game have caused a lot of mirth in Dunedin. After the inclement weather over there he is abdicating, however.


This weekend

Destroyed Sneds last week and on to Mike Coggan from Otago Cricket — it's like lambs to the slaughter.

Dunedin head to the Lobster Pot to take on Harbour, and on current form this game only goes one way. The Sharks (13+) comfortably.

Bizarrely, Southern head out to Taieri for the second time this season to take on the Eels. Southern (13+) are just too big up front and Taieri, as gutsy as they are, will succumb to that power.

Kaik are at home on the high veldt and winless AU come visiting. Kaik (13+) should be running in the tries in numbers to easily account for the Ponies.

In the big game, Varsity are at home to table-topping Zingers and I was going to tip the Bookies, but they have a raft of players out following a bruising game last week. So I’ll tip Zingers (12-).

In Central this week I’m up against ex club president and now general dog’s body at Matak Andrew Paterson. Have I told you I go good in the country?

Wakatipu (13+) lie second in the comp and I’m afraid they’ll be too good for the Alex mob. The Maggots (12-) are at home to Arrowtown and although they’ve been up and down this season should get it done at home. Upper Clutha (13+) have this comp at their mercy and should carve up the goats in Cromwell.