Kaniva-Leeor United and Mundulla to face off

TUSSLE: Cougars coach Neil Reeve tries to break through a pack. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

TUSSLE: Cougars coach Neil Reeve tries to break through a pack. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

TOP-THREE contenders Kaniva-Leeor United and Mundulla will have plenty to play for when they meet at Kaniva on Saturday.

The Cougars, who are second on the ladder, hold a one-game advantage over reigning premier Penola and the fourth-placed Tigers.

But a Tigers win at the weekend would likely see Neil Reeve's Cougars fall outside the top three for the first time since round seven.

"It's something we're aware of," Reeve said.

"We could potentially be playing in a first semi-final or if we drop a couple we could be playing in an elimination final.

"It's a massive challenge."

Both clubs will go into the contest with some serious form under their belts.

The Cougars have won 10 of their past 11 matches, while the Tigers have not lost since their round six clash against premiership favourite Padthaway.

"They're in a bit of form at the moment and are probably sneaking under the radar nicely," Reeve said.

"They've only lost the three games and I think they're starting to hit their straps at the right time of the season."

Reeve said ruckman Ryan Richardson's return would bolster the Cougars, while vice-captain Shane Vivian and Matthew Skrypek were chances to overcome injury.

He said Richardson's return to complement James Lyon would be crucial if the Cougars' midfield was to win the important centre battle.

"We're focusing on winning the contested ball and winning in the middle," Reeve said.

"Richo has been our starting ruckman and we're hoping we can start winning some centre clearances.

"We need a pretty big lift from our midfield."

Reeve said his side would likely tag key Tigers midfielder Jake McGrice, as it did in its 56-point round five win. Stopping Daniel Burgess, who has kicked 58 goals this season, will also be important.

Cougars full forward Leigh Ryan, 15 goals in three weeks, and James Turner, consecutive best-on-ground performances, will be strong targets.

On paper, the round's other matches should be fairly one-sided with top six sides hosting bottom five.

Penola should account for Naracoorte, ladder leader Padthaway will thrash Kingston, Bordertown should be far too strong for Kybybolite and Keith can remain inside the top five with a win against Lucindale.

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