Two intriguing semifinals in prospect

Clutha No8 Kerrod Baldwin prepares himself for the tackle from Clutha Valley wing Todd McCammon...
Clutha No8 Kerrod Baldwin prepares himself for the tackle from Clutha Valley wing Todd McCammon in Clydevale last Saturday. PHOTO: SI LEEDS
The best four teams in the Southern region competition this season will contest two very intriguing semifinals tomorrow.

Clutha finished top of the table and will host Heriot in a repeat of last year's semifinal.

Results between the teams have been shared, both teams winning the home fixture.

Clutha's backs have been causing havoc for opposition teams, running in 63 tries this season.

Heriot's forwards are its strong suit and it will want to keep the ball tight and push the Clutha pack around.

Clutha utility back Zak Thoms has had a strong season while hooker Josh Turnbull and lock Todd Holgate are also playing very good footy.

Heriot evergreen Blair Young is having yet another standout season, leading from the front and being real inspiration to the younger players in his team.

Halfback Ethan Jane has had a quiet couple of weeks but can take control of the game with ease.

Goal-kicking has not been great for Heriot and in a close game it may be a telling factor.

Crescent hosts Owaka in the other semifinal.

Crescent led the way for most of the season until two losses in the last three games pushed it to second.

The Coal Miners lost the Eddie Scott Memorial to Toko last weekend and come into the post-season on the back of that loss.

Owaka, on the other hand, is enjoying a dream season.

Its hard work over the past few years has paid off, resulting in it making the semifinals for the first time since 1977.

Both sides have won a game apiece against each other this season in what were two fierce contests. Both sides like to give the ball to width.

The forward packs can hold their own and it will be the team with the better discipline that will win this game.

Crescent has relied on hooker Brendan Irwin to get through a power of work this season and he has been at his industrious best.

The combination of Harley McHardy and Chase Owen is key for Crescent and, if that duo fires, the home team will be hard to stop.

Owaka's tough forward pack has grown another leg in recent weeks.

The pack is not the biggest going around, but is gritty and determined.

Captain Chris Preddy has led from the front but has been ably supported by many others.

Owaka's backs are dangerous - look no further than winger Brendan McLeod, who has scored 12 tries this season. That tally was more than the whole club put together four years ago.

There is only one bottom-four semifinal as Roxburgh has defaulted to Toko.

Clutha Valley will host Clinton. Valley's five-game win streak came to an end against Clutha last weekend but it will go into this match as a firm favourite.

The Balclutha Motors Trophy has resided in Clinton for the past two seasons so the Wild Horses will be fired up and ready for the challenge.

The winner will play Toko in the curtain-raiser to the big dance next weekend.

 - Francis Parker 

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