PIRATES' season is in the balance while Moree has nothing to gain from tomorrow's clash with the Buccaneers at Ken Chillingworth Oval.
The match looms as one of the most eagerly anticipated rugby clashes in Tamworth for some time.
Moree coach Peter Copeman expects a fiery opening at what the Bulls refer to as "Charisma Oval" with Pirates needing two wins to be assured of reaching the playoffs.
"This is always our toughest game of the season," Copeman said.
"And they are going to be fired right up. They are playing for their season while we're in a no-win situation."
Pirates, on 50 points, will need at least 54 points to be assured of a finals spot.
A loss tomorrow would have the Buccaneers back in fourth and possibly fifth if Tamworth and Gunnedah both win against Quirindi and Inverell respectively.
Copeman's side will host the major semi-final no matter what happens tomorrow although the Moree coach conceded he'd be looking for his side to play well in their last game before the finals.
The Bulls have the bye next week.
A strength of the Moree club is its capacity to make tough selection decisions.
And the Bulls have made them in recent weeks with teenage winger James Boland elevated to first grade.
Last year Anthony Kaberry spent some time in reserve grade and now the reliable Blake O'Mullane is back in reserves.
O'Mullane is not out of form but Boland gives the Bulls an ideal wing partner for Luke "Speedy" Rosser.
Copeman said young winger James Boland "knows when to kick and he knows when to run" along with having the pace to finish.
"He has got a good football brain," Copeman said.
"He gives us pace on both wings. Blake was always safe but James has got plenty of pace to go with it."
"If you are good enough you are old enough."
Meanwhile Tamworth clashes with Quirindi at Quirindi Rugby Park in a match that will have a major bearing on the makeup of the finals.
A bonus point win for the Magpies would set them up for a finals spot and end the Lions' top four chances.
In other matches, Gunnedah travels to Inverell and Walcha hosts Barraba.