Warren Clunes will take on former club Wagga City as South Wagga looks to replace the Cats on top on the Wagga cricket ladder.
Clunes is free to play after being handed a suspended sentence following an incident in South Wagga’s win over Lake Albert last year.
Clunes handed a one-match suspended sentence after his conduct was brought to the attention of Wagga cricket officials.
The all-rounder was charged with abusing an opposition player after a heated exchange with Nathan Smith over a potential dismissal in the win over the Bulls.
Top spot goes on the line as the two sides clash to start the new year.
Only one point separates the teams at the top of the ladder with victory on Saturday a big leg up in the battle for the minor premiership.
After South Wagga lost last year’s title after rain ruined the grand final the Blues know the importance of finishing the season in first place.
Opener Brayden Ambler believes the clash at McPherson Oval is a massive way to kick start the second half of the season
“Our style of game is pretty attacking cricket and we want to dominate the whole game and don’t want to go out there to block out 80 overs, so top spot is massive for us,” Ambler said.
“It’s a big advantage in the finals series, but if we come in with the right mindset that we can bowl out teams and chase runs down it really tells the competition we can be the best team.
“I don’t think anyone this season has determined that.”
Wagga City are yet to taste defeat while South Wagga’s sole loss was at the hands of the Cats earlier this season.
The two played out a draw in the two-day clash last month and batting prowess came to the fore on that occasion.
Ambler hopes the Blues attack can strike early with Jon Nicoll, Josh Thompson and Aaron Maxwell all performing well at the top of the order for Wagga City.
“The top order is crucial for them and if we can get Jon, Josh and Aaron out early we think their bottom order is very vulnerable,” he said.
Ambler is also looking for more consistency at the top of the order.
He made 88 against the Cats in the two-dayer, but is only averaging 18.1 this season.
The 21-year-old wants to get the side off to a good start.
“Our top four has really got to step up, myself included,” he said.
“I haven’t really done too much this season so if me and Rowey (captain Jeremy Rowe) at the top can make a good partnership then Blake (Harper) at number three and number four Joel (Robinson) can make some runs.
“It is a good opportunity for our top order to make some runs and really go into finals on the right foot.”
Luke Gerhard is out for the Blues.