There are only three games scheduled for round 12 of KNTFL action this weekend, but at least two of them promise to be great contests.
Only three games have been programmed because of the SA Country Championships, with four KNT players involved.
Top team Mundulla will host Padthaway (3rd) in an important battle which will have a bearing on the top three.
Unfortunately for Mundulla, the Tigers will be without gun midfielders Tim McIntyre and Jake McGrice who will both be playing for the Murray South East team in Murray Bridge.
Goalsneak Jamie Grosser has also been named as an out along with another goalkicking option, Luke Wiese. Fortunately they have great depth this year and will be able to call on the likes of Sam Luckett, Tom Perry, Grady Obst and a couple of other Wieses to fill the void.
Mundulla is only percentage ahead of Lucindale, with those two teams due to meet next week, and the Moots would love some breathing room on top of the ladder.
Padthaway is only just ahead of Keith, Penola and Kybybolite and is no certainty to finish in the top five let alone the top three, so a win over Mundulla would be a real shot in the arm if they were able to get up.
Padthaway is possibly the form side of the competition having won its past five games, and the Lions are capable of winning this one if they produce their best on the day.
It will make a big difference not having McIntyre and McGrice in the middle for Mundulla and Padthaway’s on-ballers Boyanton, Battifuoco, Townsend and Marshall might win enough ball to get the Lions up.
A game just as important for the two clubs involved is Naracoorte (10th) hosting Border Districts (11th), with the winner of that clash going one game clear of bottom spot on the ladder and the wooden spoon favouritism. Both teams have produced good football at times and it could go either way.
Tellingly, Borders will be without key utility Cam Sandercock (playing for Murray South East), who is consistently swung into whatever position Borders are struggling most in.
Naracoorte has improved the further the season has gone and the Demons have pushed every side they’ve played apart from KLU. Whether they can maintain that same intensity when they acre actually rated favourites will be important, but they should have the on-ball strength and run on their large home ground to get the job done.
Bordertown (9th) hosts Kybybolite (6th) in the other game with Kyby needing to keep winning to stay in touch with the top five. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers line up with first-game recruit Campbell Wildman from last week, as his ball-getting was one of the reasons the Tigers beat reigning premiers Penola last week.
Kyby wouldn't want to take Bordertown lightly, as the Roosters have only won one game but have played some excellent footy and are coming off the bye, so they’ll be fresh and keen to claim a big scalp.
Lucindale, Penola, KLU, Keith and Kingston all have byes.