ARMIDALE would be happy to sit back and take the two point bye this weekend as Group 19 sides jostle for position on the ladder as well as a battle for the wooden spoon.
Premiers Rangs are out in front by four points, although, along with Goondiwindi in sixth position, they have played one extra game.
The Rangs essentially have four home games in a row now, counting the derby, and will start by hosting Tingha.
Tingha upset Inverell convincingly last week but might do it tough against the premiers at Burt Javanovich Oval.
Rangs’ coach Chris Binge is looking for consistency in their play to prepare for the semis.
“They are coming to play hard footy for their season,” Binge said.
The Rangs will benefit from last year’s NBN Best and Fairest winner Warren Cain as well as Jamie Smith.
“We are five weeks away from playing finals football so we just want to do the little things right.
“I don’t care about the scoreline, I just want consistency and to get the job done.
“After all, it is about that valuable two points.”
Glen Innes have had a good season and are sitting quietly in second, four points ahead of Moree in third.
After securing the services of bustling Guyra prop Jason Rolfe last month, the Magpies are also essentially sitting pretty and waiting for finals.
They will host Goondi this week, who might struggle without big forwards Ronny David and Dexter Hutt at Kerry Meade Park.
President Peter Rice said he had done all the sums.
“We can still mathematically make it, even if we lose on Saturday,” Rice said.
“I am not writing Tingha off either.”
In their first season the Boars have shown occasional flashes of brilliance for their five wins, but have been let down by inconsistency.
Rice thinks the team can finish on 22 points even with a loss today.
“We have got our work cut out for us and we can always hope to win today.”
“We have pulled a few U18s up for their first game.”
After having points stripped for playing a suspended player earlier in the year, Uralla have the unfortunate honour of being dead last on six points.
They will travel to Ashford who despite not winning a game this season sit one point above the Tigers who have two wins.
The game could decide the wooden spoon and will be played with no love lost.
Inverell’s hopes have taken a hit with two losses and a draw from their last three matches.
They will travel to Moree to play the Boars who have battled their way to third place.
A win for the Boars and a final round bye will almost assure them of a finals place, while Inverell need a win to keep their hopes alive.