Cudgen is in the box seat to claim the minor flag.
Cudgen is in the box seat to claim the minor flag. Scott Powick

All comes down to this

SEVEN, three, two, one, one and three.

No, it's not a challenge to find the pattern but rather the key numbers entering the final round of the LJ Hooker League season.

Theoretically, there are seven teams in the running for top four finishes.

Mathematically, there are three teams competing for two home semi-final berths.

Realistically, there are two in contention for the minor flag.

Statistically, there is one outcome most likely.

Logically, it can only bode well for one Tweed team and, interestingly, there are three potential scenarios set to unfold.

As the ladder currently stands, Cudgen leads the title race on 82 points, five clear of Casino (77), with Lennox (68), Ballina (61), Tintenbar (57), South Tweed (54), and Marist Brothers (51) rounding out the six in contention for a semi-final start.

There are two games of interest for Tweed fans, both local derbies, with Cudgen hosting South Tweed at Reg Dalton Oval and Ballina welcoming Casino to Fripp Oval.

However, there are many possible outcomes and four plausible scenarios for the Tweed teams.

Scenario one is the simplest and least dependant upon other results.

If results go by the book and both Cudgen and Casino register regular wins the top three would be left unchanged and the gate open for Tintenbar to finish fourth with a win over Alstonville at Hill Park.

Or, if Tintenbar also chokes, Marist Brothers could come racing home with an outright victory over Terranora at Heaps Oval.

And if both Cudgen and Casino recorded outrights the situation would be the same.

But, if Casino produced an outright and Cudgen only manage a regular, Casino would replace Cudgen on top.

Either way South Tweed would again be eliminated from the finals race and Tintenbar and Marist would remain mathematical chances to finish fourth.

The next simplest scenario – scenario two – is that Ballina beats Casino and Lennox does likewise to lowly Lismore Workers at Hill Park.

In this case Cudgen's result against South Tweed would be null and void, as would Marist and Terranora's.

This would again be great for Cudgen but not so for South Tweed as the top four sides would remain the same and Tintenbar, South tweed and Marist would be out of the finals race.

The only change in the four would be internal with Lennox stealing second spot and a home semi-final from Casino should they defeat lowly Lismore Workers.

Scenario three is South Tweed records the unlikeliest of unlikely outrights over Cudgen and Casino win.

Here, Casino would pick up the minor premiership and South Tweed would clamber into fourth providing Tintenbar does not record an outright over Alstonville.

Cudgen would finish second and still host a home semi-final with Lennox third.

Anything less than an outright for South Tweed will instantly eliminate it from the finals race.

The action begins around the grounds at 1pm.

At the other end of the scale, Pottsville requires at least a draw against Southern Districts at Nesbitt Park to avoid the spoon, with current front-runner Murwillumbah 10 points behind and requiring an outright over Byron Bay at Rabjones Oval to put any pressure on its fellow cellar-dwellers.



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