Bulls, Kangas eye home semifinal
Mt Barker will regain up to six players as they set their sights on knocking off defending premiers North Albany for the second time this season, with third spot and a home final on the line between the two clubs on Saturday.
The Kangas sit one game and percentage clear of the Bulls on the ladder with two rounds to play but if the Bulls can cause an upset on the road this week will firm to secure third spot.
The Bulls face Albany in the final round while the Kangas will have the tough task of meeting premiership fancies Royals in round 15.
After a tense one-point win away from home last week, Bulls coach Brad Hook said his side were extremely focused on securing a home final.
Travelling trio Daniel Henderson, Kym Monteath and Leigh Conway will all return to the Bulls side this week while Nitan Benavides, Devin Cooper and Aidin Williss also loom as inclusions to the side.
“A home final has been our focus for the whole season,” Hook said. “We knew we would start slow but its within reach.
“This week is massive, really, if the games go the way they should, whoever wins this will host the first final. In a higher stakes game (elimination final), we’d rather be playing at home than away.”
Hook confirmed Lee Pavlovich and Luke Hammond will be unavailable this week but said he would still have selection problems, which has been rare this year.
The Kangas are likely to be at full strength for their home clash, with Alex Pearce, Nic Barrow, Jacob Hobbs, Talon Delacey, Mitch Lenegan and Stuart Parker among the possible inclusions.
Parker, one of the emerging ruckmen in the competition, is the most doubtful as he battles a quad injury.
Kangas skipper Luke Cameron said the contest promised to be a close one.
“We will have at least six-seven changes,” he said. “A home final is more important to the club financially than for the players but it’s vital we give back to those who put all the effort in. There has only been a few kicks between us and Mt Barker in the last couple of years.”
Meanwhile, Sharks forward Zac Pearson will become the second player at the club to reach 100 league games this weekend.
Pearson will play in his milestone 100th game against Railways, joining Jake Stuart in the club’s history.
In the other round 14 clash, Denmark-Walpole will host the Lions at McLean Park.
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