The race for the 2014 Southland premier club rugby semifinals is at crunch stage. LOGAN SAVORY has a look at the seven teams and attempts to work out what they need to do to make the playoffs.
Current Points: 34 Maximum Points: 59 Remaining Games: Barbarians, Blues, Marist, Pirates-Old Boys, Midlands.
Lowdown: Star put themselves into a strong position with an unbeaten run through the first round of the competition. A win over fifth-placed Barbarians tomorrow night would probably lock in a top four spot. If they fail to get the job done in the game being played at Rugby Park, the Waverly Park boys could need to win two of their final four games to ensure a semifinals berth.
Current Points: 32 Maximum Points: 56 Remaining Games: Blues, Marist, Pirates-Old Boys, Midlands, bye.
Lowdown: Woodlands might as well be on 36 points with a guaranteed four points in the final weekend of the round-robin series because of the crossover match. Essentially that means they actually lead the competition at the moment and a win over Blues tomorrow night is likely to cement a playoff berth with three games up their sleeve.
Current Points: 30 Maximum Points: 55 Remaining Games: Midlands, Pirates-Old Boys, Woodlands, Barbarians, Blues.
Lowdown: Two wins from their final five games - with one of them a victory over the Barbarians - should see Marist playing in the 2014 playoffs. The form guide would suggest, with Midlands and Blues two of their remaining five games, the Miller St boys are in a strong position.
Current Points: 29 Maximum Points: 53 Remaining Games: Bye, Midlands, Woodlands, Star, Barbarians.
Lowdown: With a guaran teed four points this week, Pirates-Old Boys are effectively on 33 points at the moment and sit in third place. A win over the Barbarians in the final game would probably be enough to ensure they make the top four but the Matt Saunders-coached team won't want to leave it that late to lock in a spot. BARBARIANS Current Points: 20 Maximum Points: 44 Remaining Games: Star, bye, Blues, Marist, Pirates-Old Boys. The Lowdown: The Barbarians have it all in front of them.
They do have a guaranteed four points, with the bye still to come, but it seems they would need to win at least three of their remaining four games to be a chance.
They will also hope any teams playing against Marist or Pirates-Old Boys win those games. BLUES Current Points: 13 Maximum Points: 37 Remaining Games: Woodlands, Star, Barbarians, bye, Marist. The Lowdown: The playoff dream is not completely dead for Blues but even the most faithful supporters would not be holding out much hope. They would have to win their remaining four games and probably do so with four-try bonus points. Blues would also have to hope the Barbarians and Pirates-Old Boys fold in their remaining games.
Current Points: 7 Maximum Points: 31 Remaining Games: Marist, Woodlands, Pirates-Old Boys, bye, Star.
Lowdown: Midlands are playing for pride in their remaining four games with their 2014 title aspirations already over.
The Winton-based club could, however, play the role of spoiler in the final five weeks if they can grab some upsets - in particular against Midlands on Saturday and then Pirates-Old Boys at a later date.
- The Southland Times