The hunt for a home semi continues in McNamara Cup action

Manurewa Kidd Contracting need to beat Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel and then hope Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors knocks over Karaka at Karaka Sports Complex to earn a home McNamara Cup semi-final.

Ardmore Marist are locked in for a home semi and will finish top with a win on Saturday but Karaka can secure themselves top spot and a home semi should they win.

Patumahoe is guaranteed to finish the round robin in fourth place regardless of the outcome of this week’s match and will be travelling to the top qualifier for a semi-final.

But Manurewa have plenty to play for with the competitive advantage of a home semi-final and the financial reward of hosting a big game dangling in front of them.

“We have been trying to get that for the last few years,” coach Jeremy Clark said. “It is not in our hands – it is another team’s hands, and we need results to go our way.

“If we can get our performance right whatever happens, happens and we will be right for a semi-final in two weeks’ time.”

Clark is caught in a bit of a dilemma – do you go all-out for a home semi and treat the match as must-win and risking players that at this stage of the season are beat up all while relying on the outcome of another game as well?

“It is a tough one, but you need to build some momentum going into the semi-finals,” Clark explained. “You want to be playing consistently moving forward.

“We want to go to Patty, and it is always tough there – Reon [Patumahoe coach Reon Graham] will have the team fired up as well because they have to play consistent as well and put in a good performance before they play their semi-final.

“To play them twice there in a year is different – normally you get the home and away and it is always tough there.”

The four contending clubs all have plenty of motivation to win the McNamara Cup. Ardmore Marist has been a dominant team for the past few seasons and have only one Cup to show for that success. Patumahoe has not won a title since 2012 and have a core group of home-grown talent reaching the twilight of their careers still without tasting glory while Karaka has never won a championship at premier level.

“Anything can happen in a semi-final, and it has shown that over the years,” Clark said. “On the day any one of those four can get up to win the title.

“On the day it is whoever gets it right. It is exciting times – semi-finals footy is what you want to be “playing.”

Onewhero Summit Homes hosts Papakura Thirsty Liquor in what is basically a Plate quarter-final at Onewhero.

The winner of the match will advance to the Plate semi-finals next week against Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega while the loser will be eliminated.

There has been little between the two sides so far this season and they played out an epic 17-17 draw in early May in the first clash between the two clubs this season.

Waiuku Land & Sea Civil go head-to-head with Bombay Super Freight at Rugby Park in Waiuku to decide where their semi-final will be played next weekend.

The two sides are guaranteed to run into each other for the second week running with a spot in the Premiership Plate final on the line but where that game will be staged will be determined this week.

A draw or two bonus points will be good enough for Waiuku while Bombay needs to win the match.

Patumahoe Village Bar & Grill can book the final Sid Marshall Shield Championship semi-final berth if they can beat Tuakau in the final week of pool play.

Leo Brady’s side will have the advantage of playing at home and against a side that is yet to win a game this season, but stranger things have happened.

Should Patumahoe fail to win the door will be left open for three different sides. Pukekohe are currently fifth and would need to upset unbeaten Drury at Colin Lawrie Fields to advance. Maramarua hosts Puni and could sneak into the semi-finals if both Patumahoe and Pukekohe slip up while Manurewa needs to beat Papakura Thirsty Liquor at Massey Park and hope all three of their rivals lose.

Te Kauwhata Proclad and Te Kohanga will warm up for next week’s semi-finals with a match at Te Kauwhata. The two clubs are highly likely to play each other again next week in the semis.

Patumahoe CJM Construction hosts Papakura Thirsty Liquor in the final Massey Cup U21 round robin fixture this week. The home side needs to win to have any chance of leap-frogging Papakura into second and the right to host a semi-final.

Fourth-placed Pukekohe hosts Manurewa Barfoot & Thompson while Waiuku travels to Karaka in the other games.

Pukekohe hosts Onewhero in the U85kg round robin finale needing a win to secure their spot in the semi-finals. Onewhero need a point to secure their spot.

Patumahoe Pak N Save Pukekohe could jump Karaka into top spot if they beat Papakura Thirsty Liquor while Waiuku hosts Bombay.