The first round after the festive season break will define the Murray Valley Cricket Association premier division finals series.
Waaia (fifth) and Katamatite (sixth) will fight to keep their season’s alive against Barooga (second) and Nathalia (first) respectively.
If either fail it would be an almost impossible task to bridge the already three-match gap between themselves and Cobram (fourth) with just three rounds remaining after this.
The possibility of outright victories must be considered though with all matches left spanning two days, and the Bombers will relish the opportunity to face Finley and Cobram-Yarroweyah United in the run home — both of which have been on the end of maximum-point drubbings.
Cobram could shut the door on any potential usurper with a win over Deniliquin this round, but also have fixtures against the Cats and the combine to come.
The Purples and Hawks look likely to stay perched atop the table, but will battle it out fiercely for ultimate supremacy.
This rounds matches will be held at Cobram, Waaia, Nathalia and Finley — and crowds should be up as fans and supporters alike flock to watch their local legends return to the pitch.
Despite sitting fifth on the table Waaia holds the statistical ascendancy in the batting ranks, with Brayden Carey (484 runs at an average of 44) and Mitch Cleeland (372 at 53.14) occupying first and third on the table respectively.
The Bombers duo is separated by Barooga’s Riley Gow, who has amassed 467 at 46.70.
After Nathalia’s Ash Quinn (34 wickets at 6.26) the bowling ladder belongs to the Rhinos, with Andrew Hogan (31 at 9.06) and Anthony Bradley (25 at 7.12) filling the podium.
Hogan is undoubtedly the most dangerous all-rounder in the comp though, compiling 345 runs at 69 to go with his haul of wickets.