IN what has been a fantastic Shoalhaven Senior Football competition, it will all come down to results in the last round as to who makes it into the finals. Shoalhaven United confirmed their position in the top four several weeks ago and Sussex became the second side guaranteed of a spot when they defeated Shoalhaven Heads 3-1 last week.
This ensured that Heads are now out of the race, which leaves Bomaderry, Culburra, Illaroo and Huskisson to fight it out for the final two positions.
To remain in the finals race Huskisson had a huge 6-2 win over Culburra, while Illaroo were solid in their 1-nil win over Bomaderry.
Culburra appear to be in the box seat as they play lowly placed Milton, while Bomaderry have the tougher assignment against last year’s premiers Gerringong. Should either of these teams falter, Huskisson could be catapulted into the top four as they have the bye.
Illaroo will need to defeat competition leaders United.
An exciting final round awaits.
Match of the round
Illaroo v Shoalhaven United, Sharman Park - Saturday, 3.15pm
THE match of the round is between traditional rivals Shoalhaven United and Illaroo.
United now lead the competition by 10 points, which is hard to believe considering how close the competition has been.
United have been the form side of the second round and are yet to taste defeat. Their major area of improvement has been in defence, where they have only had five goals against them since the halfway mark, which is by far the best in the competition.
Nathan Murphy, Nando Lattanzio, Allan Potter, Matt Lewis and Matt Fuz have certainly stepped up in this area.
United coach Trevor Skingle will be back for this match after spending the last five weeks in England learning off the best the Premier League has to offer.
Illaroo are only behind United as the best performer in the second round and they find themselves within reach of a top four finish.
While a win in this match won’t guarantee them a spot, it will certainly give them a chance if Bomaderry or Culburra falter.
Aaron Crittenden has been scoring regularly of late, while Slade Small, John Muggleton, Joe Leedham, Joe Hockey, Evan Leedham, Adam Arnotts and Brett Martin have also been good.
Their only loss in this round was to Sussex in the opening game of the round, and they have done all they can to make the finals.
But they will ultimately be relying on other results to go their way.
This should be a top class match against two fierce rivals, but Illaroo are likely to be desperate to steal the win from the competition champions.
Must win game for Bomaderry
Gerringong v Bomaderry, Gerringong Oval - Saturday, 3.15pm
ANOTHER important match will be between Gerringong and Bomaderry.
While Gerringong will not get the chance to defend their premiership, they would like nothing better than to have a say on the finishing positions of the other contenders.
Gerringong coach Andy Lockard will be looking for his side to finish on a high and will know a win over Bomaderry will knock them out of the four.
The likes of Gary Vian, Robbie Franks, Dean Land, Ian Morris and Sam Little are sure to cause the Bomaderry side problems.
It was inconceivably a few weeks ago that Bomaderry could miss a finals position, but losses in their two most recent games has put them in a must win situation.
Anything but a win in this match will see Bomaderry miss out, so coach Nathan Aldridge is sure to have his side focused for a big performance.
Bomaderry have a quality line-up that includes Dale Russell, Cameron Nelson, Dave Hampton, Matt Kellett, Mitch Cornell, Daniel Frew, Michael Hampton, Parker Solley and Scott Fagerlund.
This match is sure to be close, but Bomaderry should have enough incentive to take maximum points.
Culburra need a big win
Culburra v Milton, Culburra Oval - Saturday, 2pm
CULBURRA will host Milton in an important match for the home side.
Culburra suffered heavily at the hands of Huskisson last week and coach Steve Melocco will want them to forget that match and concentrate on securing a top four position.
Despite last week’s loss, it is likely that Culburra will end up finishing in second spot on goal difference if they have a big win in this game.
Culburra’s form has been mixed in recent weeks with good wins over Sussex and Basin, but heavy losses to Huskisson and United.
Melocco has been without Corey Ryan in recent weeks and will hope to have him back sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, Steve Gray, Kieran Witt, Dale Blundell, Blair Sutherland and Bobby Hill will all need to step up.
Milton is looking forward to the end of the year after what has been a tough season.
They have only had the two wins and have the worst defence in the competition. They have also lost their second grade side and have struggled to field a first grade side each week.
Milton coach Neil Wade will be looking for a big effort in their last game and will hope to have his best side on deck.
Daniel Todeshini has had a great year, while Jack Peel, David Sarnacki, Nathan Avery, Blake Sommerville, Oscar Lees and Peter Whitmore have tried hard. Incredibly they should have at least drawn with United a couple of weeks ago. Culburra should be too strong and will secure their spot in the finals.
Home game gives Heads the edge
Shoalhaven Heads v St Georges Basin, Vic Zealand Oval - Saturday, 3.15pm
THE final match in this round is between Shoalhaven Heads and Basin, who are both out of contention.
Heads made a strong run for a finals birth, but it all came undone against Sussex last week.
Not only were they beaten to bring their finals run to an end, they also lost Jack Miller and David Crapp during the game.
Brad Page has done a fantastic job with the side since taking over from Col Cropper mid year, and while he would be disappointed they have now bowed out, he would be happy with their effort.
A good win in this match could still see them finish as high as sixth.
Basin has had a rebuilding year and coach Scott Aldridge will be looking to finish on a high.
Aldridge has had a team of young guys that have struggled at times, but have never given up.
They usually performed well in one half, but have not been able to perform for the full 90 minutes.
Aldridge will want big performances from Braedon Mellier, Jordan Thorncroft, Derek Schofield, Bradley Southward, Jesse Aldridge, Lachlan Mellier and Tom Reminis.
Basin will try hard however Heads will be too strong.