Winning immediate focus for Whalers

Winning the game is the Otago Whalers' focus.

If that is going well, securing the South Island title may also come into play.

That is how the side will approach its final game of the Southern Zone Premiership against the Southland Rams at the Oval today.

Success will give the Whalers a shot at a third consecutive title. However, that is likely to come down to points differential.

Southland enters the game having won all three of its games so far. Otago has won two as has Aoraki which could make it a three-way tie with a win over West Coast.

The prize is a trip to Auckland to play the winner of the North Island competition at Mount Smart Stadium.

Whalers coach Dave Reedy said they would probably need to win by "quite a bit" to take the title.

While that was always there, it was not the immediate focus.

"Win the game first and foremost and then let the score take care of itself," he said.

"If we get a bit hung up on chasing points, things tend to go a bit sideways when you do that."

The side lost to Aoraki two weeks ago, although bounced back with a good win over West Coast last week.

Reedy was pleased with that performance and said it was a tough game.

The side had been coming together well and was notably improving its completion rate every week.

However, it would be without two key players today.

Hooker Shaun Tahau broke his hand and outside back Josh Thompson broke his ribs during last week's match.

Despite that, Reedy is confident his side will be able to reshuffle and plug the gaps.

Southland will be a tough opponent and it has threats across the park.

"They're always strong, they're kind of our nemesis.

"The last couple of years whoever wins our game tends to win the South Island comp.

"But Aoraki have put in a few strong performances this year so now they're up there."

The Whalers have plenty of attacking power and would look to use that, he said.

Tightening its defence would be key.

Reedy felt playing at home would be significant as well.

"Even though its only two hours down the road, having a home advantage is awesome.

"We'll see if we can get a decent crowd down there.

"It'll be an entertaining game. I don't think anyone's going to leave not being entertained by either team."

Southern zone premiership

Otago Whalers v Southland Rams

Kensington Oval

Today, 2.45pm

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