CRUNCH TIME: Ballina, Casuarina fight for lock second spot
TWO games in Far North Coast rugby union this weekend could decide the final four ahead of the semi-finals next month.
The winner of the Ballina and Casuarina game should lock second spot while Lennox Head can almost seal fourth if they get the better of Byron Bay.
The Trojans are coming off the back of three big losses but are still 10 points clear of Byron Bay in fourth.
Byron Bay would need to win this game and its catch-up game against bottom-placed Bangalow to remain in the finals hunt.
Casino is a dark horse from sixth spot and has a big game of its own against seventh placed Grafton this weekend.
If the Bulls get the victory they should then win their last three games against Southern Cross University, Bangalow and Lismore.
Wollongbar-Alstonville will win the minor premiership, they are currently 18 points clear on top of the ladder while Casuarina are warming to the task.
They were physically dominant in their recent win over Byron Bay and could be the ones most likely to trouble the Pioneers in the finals.
Casuarina coach Mick Hall said he wanted the intensity the team was showing at training and in recent games to be maintained for the rest of the year.
"The aggression in the contact and at the breakdown has been really pleasing to watch and we will want to keep that up for the rest of the year," he said.
"We have started to settle on who our best group is and people coming back from injury has helped as well.
"We are looking forward to playing Ballina because that will most likely decide who finishes second."
Pointscore: Wollongbar 70, Casuarina 52, Ballina 48, Lennox Head 44, Byron Bay 34, Grafton 34, Casino 34, SCU 21, Lismore 12, Bangalow 11.
GAMES THIS WEEKEND
Ballina v Casuarina at Quays Reserve, Ballina
Byron Bay v Lennox Head, at the Byron Recreation Ground
Wollongbar-Alstonville v Southern Cross University at Lyle Park, Wollongbar
Lismore v Bangalow at Lismore Rugby Park.
Grafton v Casino at Grafton Rugby Park.