Will Merseyside wrap up a post-season spot for the second straight season? Can Farnham grab a much needed win in the South? Our Premier division correspondents offer their thoughts…
Tamworth Phoenix vs Edinburgh Wolves
The Wolves are back in action after their loss to take on the ever dominant Phoenix. The Wolves, who started the season with much promise, have started to stutter a little while the Nix look as strong as ever.
The Wolves having come off a long break lost to the Nighthawks in Week Thirteen. After having another bye week, the Wolves will need to regroup to avoid another loss making it 3 losses on the trot. The last time the Wolves played the Nix they stretched Tamworth to almost breaking put but sadly lost out in the end.
Tamworth have gone from strength to strength. They have shown they have talent in starting lineup, RB Elliot Walters having a great season, but also have a lot of depth with Rookie QB Oscar Russell proving he too can lead the Nix offence. The age and experience from the likes of Hossack and others coupled with the high level of coaching at the Nix can be attributed to their success on the football field.
This is not going to be the same as last time. The Tamworth coaches and players will be more prepared for the Wolves and I doubt that they will allow themselves to be taken advantage of. The Wolves have their work cut out for them.
East Kilbride Pirates vs Merseyside Nighthawks
The Nighthawks are on a roll moving to 6-2 after dispatching Scotland’s second team. The Pirates on the other hand are on a downward spiral which they will be looking to stop.
Scotland’s current #1 team are starting to show signs of struggle. The team have scored less and less points as the season has progressed, only scoring once past the Nix in their last game. The Pirates have to figure out what they are doing wrong or they will not be in a positive position come the end of the season. It looks like playoff football is out of the picture but the Pirates will want to keep spirits high for next season.
The Nighthawks however are having a great season. Pushing themselves to 6-2 after a shaky start the Nighthawks have pretty much locked in playoffs. They will be looking to continue their strong form both in the run and pass game. The Nighthawks defence put on a show against the wolves with Linebackers Rick Keir and Stu Taggart having great performances. Offensively with Ben Robinson out the Nighthawks may have struggled a little but still put up 41 points. As usual the Nighthawks’ run game was solid with Daishawn Honohon and Jimmy Sutherland pounding the rock. With some more practice for Harry Routledge the Nighthawks should be a little more confident going into their next game.
Surprisingly this game isn’t that hard to call. The Nighthawks are coming in hot, looking to put in solid performances and take their momentum into the playoff, while the Pirates continue to struggle. Nighthawks to win.
London Warriors vs Bristol Aztecs
This weekend sees the last match up between these two teams, with this being the penultimate game for the Warriors. If they slip up and get a loss this weekend they will lose the top spot and lose their home field in the playoffs meaning, going by ‘if the season ended now’ they’d have to travel up to Tamworth. The Warriors won’t take it easy on the Aztecs as they’ll want to see out their season on a high and having the home field advantage they should be bringing out big numbers and scoring big points.
The Aztecs will be wanting to finish this season on a high with three final wins to take them to 6-4, their toughest game comes this weekend however as they face off against the Warriors for the third time this season. Having won their last two games the Aztecs should be feeling confident. Head Coach Chris Powles said “It’s come down to the last 3 games, we have some momentum now off 2 wins and so we’re looking forward to it. Last game we had a bad first half then played much better and we feel our second half performance has helped give us a boost for the last 2 games. Warriors are building to the post season so they will want to keep the momentum they have after their last big win. It’s our last game against one of the big 2 for this year, the 5th time we have faced off, despite not getting a win yet we think we have held our own, we were within 1 score against the Blitz in the 4th both games, we were within a score in the 4th against the Warriors first time and last time we had a solid second half. We just need to play a complete game, and this is where depth is important, you need a full squad to compete for 4 quarters. We have just had a week off so should travel well and embrace the opportunity.”
I think the Warriors won’t want to give up a loss so close to the playoffs so I can’t see the Aztecs being able to pip them to the W. Warriors to win.
Farnham Knights vs Bury Saints
Both Farnham and Bury have only two games left before the end of the season and both teams have struggled this season more than they would have liked. GM David Ferebee said “as you know the Knights are having a tough year but all anyone sees is the scoreline, 58-14 sounds like a “shellacking” but the real story is a small group of players coming together with a new coaching staff and new play book and really growing and bonding during the season, the team out there now scoring on the Blitz is not the same team that got beat in game 1 against the Aztecs.”
Although the Knights struggle with conceding a fair few points each game it seems as though they are developing as a team having had a new Head Coach at the start of the season.
The Saints have only manage two wins this season both of which coming from the Knights games so this weekend they should be looking to get their third win against the team. The Saints have had some tough competition in recent weeks having the Blitz back to back and then the Aztecs managing to shut them out for the first time this season. This weekend will hopefully give them a win and give them some momentum as they head down to the Aztecs the following week.
With back to back games after a week off it will be good to see if the week away from competition has given the Saints the rest they need to finish their season off on a high. I think the Saints will win this one.