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The results in the premier grade last weekend went the way of the favourites, as last season's six premier grade teams beat the freshly promoted teams.
Of the latter, Edendale went closest to an upset victory, against Woodlands. Edendale's first five-eighth Bram Fodie was one of the game's best.
His outstanding cover-defence and line breaks, provided Edendale with a great opportunity to win the game. Only desperate defence from Woodlands enabled it to hold out, 12-7.
Tomorrow, Fodie will make his 100th appearance for Edendale when it plays the Eastern Northern Barbarians, at Newman Park in Gore.
Since debuting in 2011, Fodie has had older brother Jeroe alongside him in the backline. Father John was the team's coach when it won division 1 titles in 2012 and 2017. Mother Denise was made a life member of the club in 2016.
Bram is in his second season co-captaining the side with hooker Luke Muir, who is likely to earn his 150th cap next month.
Fodie said the club was relishing its time in the premier grade.
"We are all excited to see how we go. You couldn't get the smile off our faces last Saturday."
The Eastern Northern Barbarians will provide stiff opposition. The team was created in 2012 to compete in the premier grade, using the best club players from the eastern and northern Southland clubs. The club won the Galbraith Shield in 2016 and a handful of its players have been selected for the Southland Stags over the years.
There were suggestions Barbarians was now surplus to requirements, with five of its feeder clubs, Wyndham, Edendale, Waikaka, Riversdale and Te Anau, joining it in the premier grade.
The Barbarians did not see it that way and have assembled a strong side, which beat Midlands 35-3 last Saturday.
Also scheduled for Newman Park tomorrow is the Gore grudge match between division 1 sides Pioneer and Albion.
Woodlands will start favourite on its home ground against Te Anau. Te Anau's forwards fronted up well against Marist in round one but the team was outclassed 42-12.
In other games, Midland will take on Marist, while Waikaka face Blues. Wyndham hosts Star and Riversdale plays Pirates Old Boys.
- John Langford