Pressure on as Premiership split round approaches

Waiuku Land & Sea Civil hosts Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors in a crucial McNamara Cup fixture that will have significant playoff permutations.

A win for the home side would all but guarantee them a place in the all-important top five but a loss will leave them vulnerable to the likes of Pukekohe Mitre 10 and Bombay Super Freight.

“Mathematically we have looked at all that sort of stuff and we know we have to win,” Waiuku coach Peter Nock said.

“It means a lot for us to be at home. To be fair we have struggled away from home. We do go well at home. The boys have got their own whare and built a lot of culture on what we do at home.

“The challenge against Ardmore is going to be huge – they haven’t lost except against Karaka and even then Karaka scored in the last minute and they probably deserved to win that game.

“They’re a good side and they have a good set piece, they have good attacking power and are solid on D so we are going to have to play well – probably above ourselves to be fair.”

Bombay hosts Pukekohe in a do-or-die game for both clubs. The loser will be eliminated from the top five race and there is always a big rivalry whenever these two sides run into each other.

Pukekohe has displayed good form in recent weeks while Bombay, the 2019 premieres, have seen their form taper off a bit.

Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel could secure a top five berth if they can pick up maximum points when Weymouth comes to town.

The winless Weymouth side have refused to throw the towel in and Patumahoe call ill-afford to take them lightly.

Papakura Thirsty Liquor hosts neighbours Karaka at Massey Park and will probably be shaking their heads at getting this fixture immediately after Karaka suffered their first loss of the season.

Kerry Petrie’s side has been up and down this season – at times really taking it to the leading sides and looking capable of winning but also having scores racked up against them.

Is this the week they put it altogether and take a big scalp?

Manurewa Kidd Contracting is back at home at Mountfort Park fresh off handing Karaka their first loss and will look to see off the challenge from Onewhero Summit Homes.

Manurewa’s spot in the top five doesn’t look in question but they still have a bit to do to lock it in and a win over Onewhero would do that for Jeremy Clark’s side.

Manurewa Barfoot & Thompson hosts Pukekohe in Massey Cup U21 action in a game that features as our Counties Power Game of the Week this week.

Both sides come into the match with a pair of wins; Manurewa’s draw with Patumahoe the only thing separating the two clubs on the table.

Pukekohe made a hot start, winning their first two matches but have dropped their last two.

“We are a young side and a small one – we don’t have any dispensated players and I think the average age is about 18 and a half,” coach Bruce Lansdown said.

“The boys are keen and they are turning up to training, which is great.

“We just need to find some consistency. We are not far off.”

While Pukekohe are a fairly light side, Lansdown expects their opponents on Saturday to be at the other end of the spectrum.

“From what I hear they are a big side and they are playing well so they will be a challenge for us.

“It is a tight competition – everyone is competitive.

“Papakura, Manurewa and Patumahoe all look very capable and I think anyone of us is capable of tipping the other up on our day.”

In other matches Waiuku hosts Karaka while Patumahoe CJM Construction takes on Papakura Thirsty Liquor in a battle between two of the top three sides in the competition.

Unbeaten Drury hosts Tuakau in Sid Marshall Shield Championship action this week. Papakura Thirsty Liquor travels to Te Kauwhata Proclad while neighbours Puni and Patumahoe Village Bar & Grill meet at Puni.

Pukekohe hosts Te Kohanga at Colin Lawrie Fields while Manurewa travels to Maramarua.

Neighbours Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical and Karaka square off in Bob Chandler Cup Premier Reserves action at Patumahoe.

Elsewhere Manurewa Wise Property Management hosts Ardmore Marist Barfoot & Thompson while Pukekohe travels up the hill to play Bombay Pokeno Bacon. 

Unbeaten Patumahoe Pak N Save Pukekohe travels to Te Puru Park to meet Beachlands Maraetai in U85kg action.

Bombay hosts Onewhero, Waiuku hosts Papakura Thirsty Liquor while Pukekohe travels to Karaka.