Hawks and Sharks to fight for poll position

Top spot is up for grabs with ladder-leading Lake Albert set to meet second-placed Henwood Park at Rawlings Park on Saturday night.

Like a pair of identical twins, the two sides have been inseparable all season, sitting just one point apart on the table and drawing 0-0 when they met in round seven.

Both sides have made compelling arguments as to why they should be considered the competition’s best, with Tolland also having something to say on the matter. 

Lake Albert held onto top spot for five of the past six weeks, while Henwood Park boasted an unbeaten record until they went down to Tolland before the general bye.

Hawks coach and former Shark Matt Menser said his team knew exactly what it would have to do to take down Lake Albert and claim poll position heading into finals.

“For us it’s about restricting the types of chances they get,” Menser said.

“It’s no secret they have a lot of great players, including the competition’s leading goal scorer, and will create a lot of opportunities.

“We have to make sure they never get a free shot at goal and have pressure on them at all times.

“That means defending as a group and working hard for each other.”

Menser won the premiership with Lake Albert last year, but said getting one over his old teammates was not his focus.

“It might mean more to them than it does to me,” he said.

“It’s not so much that I used to play with those guys, but that we want to beat them because they’re the benchmark of the competition.”

Elsewhere, red-hot Tolland will face off against fifth-placed Cootamundra at Rawlings Park on Sunday.

Wolves are in blistering form after knocking off Lake Albert and Henwood Park in consecutive weeks before the break, proving there are more than two sheriffs in town this year.

Tolland topped Cootamundra 1-0 when they last played in round seven and have significantly bolstered their squad since then, including the additions of regular contributors Bai Fahnbulleh and Lachlan Bushby.

Bruno Andre’s suspension hurts Wolves, but they have more than enough depth to cover for him.

Cootamundra will also head into battle without a full team, defender Brent Farnsworth to sit out with a knee injury.

In other Pascoe Cup action, Wagga United faces Tumut at Rawlings Park on Saturday night, Leeton hosts South Wagga at MIA Sports Field on Sunday, and Junee takes on Young at Burns Park.