Tolland to play it safe heading into finals

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Tolland's Cameron Kopp makes a speedy getaway against Cootamundra earlier this month. His undermanned side will meet South Wagga at Rawlings Park on Sunday. Picture: Kieren L Tilly
EYES ON THE PRIZE: Tolland's Cameron Kopp makes a speedy getaway against Cootamundra earlier this month. His undermanned side will meet South Wagga at Rawlings Park on Sunday. Picture: Kieren L Tilly

Tolland will rest all but four of its regular starters for the second consecutive week on Sunday, due to a host of players flirting with automatic suspension.

Three yellow cards across the season warrants an automatic one game suspension and Wolves captain Richard Skidmore and co-coach Chris Ayton have five each.

Jaiden O’Brien, Bai Fahnbullehh, Masase Kpaney and Jason Cuttle are also close to the card limit, and will skip Sunday’s regular season finale against South Wagga to insure themselves against missing finals action.

“If we were playing for a top two spot I would be been more willing to risk players,” Tolland co-coach Chris Ayton said.  

Wolves needed Lake Albert to lose one of its final two games to jump into the top two, ultimately deciding that was unlikely and opting to play it safe instead.

Tolland downed South Wagga 4-1 when they last met in round nine, emerging victorious from a bizarre clash with featured three red cards for the Warriors.

Meanwhile, Lake Albert leader Ben Angel believes Sunday’s clash with Tumut is far from a dead rubber.

The Sharks are guaranteed a top two spot but remain determined to get back to their best before the finals begin.

Lake claimed a 1-0 win over Cootamundra last week but needed a Henri Gardner penalty to get over the line.

One week prior, they suffered a heartbreaking last-minute 5-4 loss to ladder-leading Henwood Park.

“You could call it a dead rubber this week, but we can’t afford to keep our foot off the accelerator,” Angel said.

“We were all fairly disappointed with our performance last week.

“That first-half was probably our worst half of the season.”

Angel said his side had identified Tumut’s midfield as their most dangerous weapon.

“They’re very quick and dangerous in the midfield,” he said.

“They have a few guys in the middle where you tend not to realise how good they are until it’s too late.”

Lake is still tossing up whether to rest Henri Gardner, Kane Baumer and Justin Curran, all of whom are one card away from an automatic one game suspension.

But Sharks will welcome Duncan Brodie back from suspension for the clash, and are also hoping to reinsert Cam Mavor into their lineup.

Elsewhere, Leeton will head into its clash with Young at MIA Sports Field knowing it cannot fall out of the top four or jump into the top two.

Henwood Park will be looking to hold onto top spot when it meets Cootamundra at Rawlings Park on Saturday night.