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Last season's champion, Valley, leads the field with 35 points, five clear of Excelsior which in turn is four flag points ahead of Old Boys, while Maheno is drifting off the pace on 21 points.
Kurow is fifth with 11 points. Athletic Marist is still chasing the field despite a confidence-boosting performance against Valley last week.
The feature games this week at the Whitestone Contracting Stadium pit leader Valley against Old Boys. In-form Excelsior, after beating Old Boys again last week, meets Kurow, which beat Maheno last week, and Athletic Marist, beginning to find form again after a sluggish start, meets third-placed Maheno. That could be the game of the round.
The next big occasion in North Otago will be the traditional fixture between Town and Country, to be played at Maheno on Friday, May 31, at 7.30pm.
The first North Otago squad of the season will probably be announced early next month by coaches Jason Forrest and Nick Anderson. The Ranfurly Shield will be the first big test when North Otago plays Otago on July 26 at Whitestone Contracting Stadium at 2.05pm.
The game at Maheno at the end of the month should be an interesting match with plenty of quality in both sides.
There is much to play for in the match and it is good to see Lemi Masoe back in the fold. He moved to the South Canterbury camp last year but will be coaching the Town team with Ralph Darling.
The Country team will be coached by Josh Clark and Tim Anderson.
Town v Country squads
Town: Tom Shields, Will Sunderland, Hayden James, Pesajon Tili, Matt Duff, Mosese Aho, Karl Cunningham, Jamie Rhodes, Samuela Babiau (Excelsior), Kelepi Funaki, Sale Pi’i, Toni Taufa, Manulua Taiti (Old Boys), Epineri Logavatu (Athletic Marist), Tom Moysey, Antonio Misiloi, Taina Tamou, Hamish Slater, Kayne Middleton, Tarn Crow (Excelsior), Inoke Naufahu, Alipate Tui’pulotu (Old Boys), Anthony Arty, Patrick Pati, Simon Lilicama, Andrew Fauoo (Athletic Marist)
Coaches: Ralph Darling, Lemi Masoe.
Manager: Duncan Kingan, 027 536-3742
Country: Lototonga Malafu, Patrick Henwood, Bailey Templeton, Sione Kaufusi (Kurow), Jake Greenslade, Meli Kolinisau, Cameron Rowland, Junior Fakatoufifita, Logan Dunlop, Max Smith (Valley), Josh Hayward, Jackson Attfield, Johannes Heunis (Maheno), Dean Fenwick, Ben Nowell, Jason Angland (Kurow), Glen Sturgess, Mathew Vocea, Howard Packman, Brad McKenzie (Valley), Lachie Kingan, Sam Tatupu, Clement Gasca, Ryley MacColl (Maheno)
Coaches: Josh Clark, Tim Anderson.
Manager: Andrew Harding, 021 190-0849
Training time and venues TBC.
- Terry O'Neill