THE Horsham District league’s top two sides in Kalkee and Harrow-Balmoral will meet at the weekend in what is shaping up to be a vital game for the make-up of the ladder.
Both sides sit even on 44 points one game ahead of Jeparit-Rainbow.
The Southern Roos sit on top of their closest rivals thanks to higher percentage.
In what could be a potential grand final preview, Harrow-Balmoral coach Nick Pekin said his side had to be at their best if they wanted to claim a win away from home.
“We are fighting for top spot and it’s a must-win game for us,” he said.
“It’s always windy up at Kalkee so we will certainly be practising our goal-kicking. We have a couple of injuries but I know Kalkee have had a couple too so it will be interesting to see how the two teams line up.”
LAST TIME THEY MET: Southern Roos win physical contest against Kees
Harrow-Balmoral forward Simon Close kicked 14 goals last week in the highest individual tally for the round state-wide against Taylors Lake.
“He is playing some really good football for us now and is starting to find his feet at the right time of the season,” Pekin said. “He brings other people into the game as well.”
Harrow-Balmoral beat Kalkee by 19 points in round three at Harrow.
“We know how they go about it and how they start off but it will be different to last time,” Pekin said.
Southern Roos forwards James Staude, Clinton Robinson and assistant coach Hamish Ellis are all unlikely to play at the weekend.
Kalkee co-coach Stuart Farr said the game would have a finals-like feel to it.
“The winner will be as good as guaranteed a top-two finish and the loser will be back in the pack, so there is definitely a lot to play for,” Farr said.
“It will be an end of season final and we will both be bringing a finals-like intensity.
“You want to test yourselves against the best and if we can get a few little edges over them moving forward that would be huge.”
Kalkee has a few injury concerns of its own with veteran forward Steve Schultz still a few weeks off.
“We have a few injuries but it has been great to test our depth and give some others a few opportunities,” Farr said.
“Daniel Schurmann won’t play, Harrison Wentworth is questionable and I’m not sure if Jace Monaghan will come up either. Sam Anders played his first game of the year last week and fit in perfectly. I don’t think we will miss too much.”
Farr said last time Harrow-Balmoral was cleaner with the ball.
“We had a similar amount of the ball but they just used it better so we want to be quicker and cleaner this week,” he said.