Hastings League: Marlins and Magpies do battle for finals spot

There is more than bragging rights on the line when the South West Rocks Marlins host rivals the Lower Macleay Magpies this Saturday, as the two sides are playing to cement their place in the finals, and potentially a top three spot.

The Magpies and Marlins sit in fourth and fifth spot respectively on the ladder, with one competition point separating the sides.

A victory could lift the winning side into third place on the ladder while a loss could spell disaster.

The losing side will need to earn a victory in their final game of the regular season to book their place in the finals.

The Marlins face the competition leaders the Kendall Blues in the last round while the Magpies host the last-placed Comboyne Tigers.

With a finals spot up for grabs and a chance at a top three position available, the importance of a victory has increased for both sides.

“A win is extremely important, a loss would put us in a tough spot as we would have to beat the Blues or hope other results go our way,” Marlins co-coach Sam Drew told the Argus.

“It’s a local derby and everyone always lifts for it but now there’s even more on the line.”

The Marlins allowed the Magpies to pull the strings early when they last met, but the side fought back to take the lead before a magic moment from Zac McKiernan stole the victory for Lower Macleay.

The two sides captains are out to correct the mistakes from their first meeting.

“Defence is the key to coming away with the competition points,” Magpies coach Bo Wilson said.

“I know we have points in us and we showed that last time but we allowed them back into it by not sticking in the tackles.

“They beat us up down the middle so we will need to kick to corners and turn their forwards around.”

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Meanwhile Drew is focused on a better start to the match.

"We allowed them to take control of things early and it hurt us towards the back end of the game,” Drew said.

Another close game is expected, with the match commencing at 2.30pm.

The curtain raiser for the Hastings League match is the junior Aussie Rules sides the South West Rocks Dockers taking on the Port Macquarie Magpies with kickoff at 1pm.

The Curtain Raiser is the junior AFL sides SWR Dockers vs Port   Macquarie Magpies kicking off at 1pm.

Following the main game, a presentation and function will be held at the South West Rocks Surf Life Saving Club with raffles and auctions of signed jerseys.

They will be celebrating the careers of ex-Kangaroos John Elford (Marlins) and Jim Murphy (Magpies).