Finals spots are still anyone’s for the taking as the penultimate weekend of Greater Northern Cup roster matches gets under way.
Latrobe remains the side most likely to play in finals and sit nine points ahead of Launceston, South Launceston and Burnie on 46 points apiece.
Westbury, Mowbray and ninth-placed Riverside all remain a chance to make finals, but would need to win their remaining two matches and rely on other results to fall their way.
MOWBRAY’s assignment will be to knock off Latrobe, but will need to do so without star trio Jarrod Freeman (under-19 nationals), Rohan Pooley and Justin Reeves.
Alex Jordan is set to return for the Eagles after a week off, while two second-grade players will be asked to step up to the first team.
“Jarrod’s hard to replace, he’s made couple of half-centuries and with the ball he’s one of our key weapons,” captain John LeFevre said.
“Rohan the last two games has anchored our innings… and Justin is obviously a pretty attacking weapon with the new ball, so they’re hard to replace but we feel the people we bring in can perform roles for the team.”
SOUTH LAUNCESTON has scooted up to third place on the back of four-straight wins and could cement a semi-final berth with a fifth at Devonport Oval.
Jack Young will return to bolster the Knights’ bowling attack in a match which could shape the final four.
“There’s a lot of teams really close on points and us and Devonport are two of them so wins the next two weeks would be massive,” South captain Alec Smith said.
“Devonport have got a couple of really good batters so our bowling will need to be really good and then hopefully we can continue our form with the bat.”
Newly-crowned T20 champions WESTBURY will take on Ulverstone full of confidence after a morale-boosting win at Burnie last weekend.
Opener Kieran Hume will be absent from the line-up but skipper Richard Howe says his side can cover the loss.
“If we can bring the same attitude and the same way we played last week we’ve got a team that’s good enough to knock them off,” he said.
Tom Garwood insists his side won’t be taking anything for granted when RIVERSIDE travels to winless Wynyard.
The Blues broke a three-game losing streak last weekend and will welcome Alex Saunders back into the side with Ollie Wood lining up for the state under-19s.
“We’re definitely looking at getting the win but it’s not going to come easy,” Garwood said.
“We’re going into the weekend confident but Wynyard have a couple of really good players so we’re not going to go there and think the game’s already won.”
LAUNCESTON will likely have to make do without leading wicket-taker Tom Gray for its trip to Sheffield.
With a match against Burnie to come, Lions skipper Alistair Taylor said a win this weekend was crucial.
“Last weekend was a big step for us and this weekend is another really important game to try and cement a spot in the top four,” he said.