CULBURRA remain at the top of the table of the Shoalhaven Senior football competition after their 2-1 win over Manyana.
Shoalhaven Heads remain four points further back in second position due to their 3-1 win over Illaroo.
Shoalhaven United moved back in to fourth position after a big 7-1 win over Bomaderry while Huskisson got their first win of the year when they defeated Basin 3-1.
This weekend marks the start of the third round and all games will have a big bearing on positions on the table.
Match of the round
Manyana v Shoalhaven Heads
THE match of the round is between third placed Manyana and second placed Shoalhaven Heads.
Manyana had only their third loss of the year against Culburra last week and the only other side to defeat them is this week’s opposition.
Manyana arguably have the best attacking strike force in the competition with Rohan Daley, Billy Zappas and Brandon Perosh all among the leading scorers. While Culburra were able to keep them in check last week, this is not the norm as they had scored 18 goals in their previous four games.
Manyana coach Matt Tooley will want his side to finish in the top two however due to the closeness of this competition they could even drop to equal fourth if this week’s results fall the wrong way for them.
Shoalhaven Heads are still cruising along with a minimum of fuss and while some may be waiting for their bubble to burst it does not look like happening any time soon.
They have met every challenge that has been thrown at them and are still in the race for the top spot with seven games to go.
Ross Tasker has done a fantastic job with a side that was not expected to be in the top four, let alone challenging for the top spot.
The secret to their success has probably been their defence.
They have only had more than one goal scored against them twice this year.
The likes of Brad Page, Roy Miller, Hayden Lavender and David Crapp have been strong in this area.
The first round was a 1-all draw while Heads won the second round 2-1.
This is expected to be another close game with a draw the likely result.
Can Bomaderry redeem themselves from last week’s loss?
Bomaderry v Illaroo
BOMADERRY will take on Illaroo in what is expected to be another close match. Bomaderry suffered a heavy defeat against United last week.
However early in this match the Bomaderry side had several chances to take the lead and the result could have been far different.
While coach Doug Foley is disappointed in his team’s performance, he will want them to learn from it to ensure it does not happen again.
They were missing Matt Kellett and Daniel Frew last week and Foley will hope they return and will also be looking for good performances from Dave Hampton, Cameron Nelson, Mitch Cornell and Ben Foley.
Illaroo are a slipping further from the top four and they probably can’t afford any more losses if they are to make the finals.
They can however cause problems for those are that are in the finals race.
At times during the year Illaroo have challenged the top sides including draws with Manyana, Culburra and United.
There is no reason why they cannot upset any side in the last round on their day.
Zac Vellis, Slade Small, Evan Leedham, Aaron Crittenden, Sam Leedham and Paul Maiolo are all quality players and Timbs will be looking for good performances from them all.
The first round was a 3-all draw while Bomaderry won the second round 4-1.
If you use the games these teams played against United in the last two weeks as a form line it points to an easy Illaroo win.
This won’t be the case though and Bomaderry should be able to do enough to take maximum points.
Huskisson look to make it two in a row
Shoalhaven United v Huskisson
SHOALHAVEN United will host Huskisson in what will be another important match. As opposed to last year United have been inconsistent this year.
They have had easy wins over Shoalhaven Heads and Bomaderry together with big losses to Manyana and Culburra.
They have also drawn games with Huskisson and Illaroo which they would have expected to win.
Last week’s huge win over Bomaderry will be a confidence boost however it also signalled the last game for young gun Josh Mackaness.
United will miss Mackaness and how coach Trevor Skingle covers this loss could decide the fate of their season.
Taite Arney has been a revelation up front after the loss of Shane Button several weeks ago and Matt Lewis, James Spackman and Shaun Aldous have also been good recently.
Huskisson achieved their first win last week and now this may give them the confidence required to turn their season around.
Leading up to this game they had drawn with heavyweights Shoalhaven Heads and Culburra.
They are certainly in good form and could cause problems for all other sides in the finals race.
There is no reason why Huskisson can’t compete with all sides with the likes of Josh Fuz, Alex Muscemeci, Sam Boardman, Ian Osterloh, Jayme Delehenty, Adam Quinn, Dave Dunlop and Jake Malligan on board.
Huskisson coach Ian Osterloh has told his side to play an attacking style and with nothing to lose this will trouble opposition sides.
United won the first round 4-1 while the second round was a 3-all draw. Huskisson are going better than they were in their previous meetings and should be able to get at least a draw.
Basin have a tough round ahead
St Georges Basin v Culburra
St Georges Basin Sporting Complex
THE final match in this round is between Basin and Culburra.
Basin has been competitive in most games this year however they usually are unable to play for the full 90 minutes.
Basin coach Scott Aldridge will know that if they are not at their best against the Culburra side they could be in for a long afternoon.
Tim Shields has been scoring regularly while Aldridge will also look to Chris Preece, Mitch Brown, Mark Foggin, Wade Garin and Tom Reminis for good performances.
As has been said many times before the Basin side never give up and it is a credit to Aldridge and the club that they continue to play in the first grade competition.
Culburra continue on as favourites for the competition as they are picking up wins against quality opposition even when under strength.
The Cougars were missing several players against Manyana and still came away with the win in enemy territory.
The skill and ability of superstar striker Corey Ryan knows no bounds.
Ryan made the trip to Manyana not intending to play and didn’t even have his gear.
When he saw his side were short he went to the nearest phone box and returned several minutes later as “Super Corey”.
He then proceeded to tear Manyana apart, score the two goals to win the game and then disappear into the crowd – job done.
Culburra had few problems with Basin in the previous two rounds and it will be the same this time also.