I have to admit it has been hard to keep on the straight and narrow this week with the excitement that ‘other’ big event that is on today has generated.
 Mind you it will be harder still to stay focused on Sunday when we can at last celebrate big time that the breath taking antics of our Country`s leaders are at least returning to normal for a few years.
Thank goodness for sport.
FOOTBALL
The MALLEE LEAGUE has its Grand Final this Saturday at Lameroo and on their home ground that perhaps at least gives the Hawks a chance of duplicating its “upset of the season” result against Border Downs Tintinara in the Second Semi Final.
Lameroo`s stars in that game were Shaw, Shaun Walker, Caulfield, Ben Grieger, Haydon Thorpe but if you glance down its list there is still a lot of other potential match winners including the Ridgways, Kerley, Billy McNeilly and Agelis.
But the BDT team sheet makes awesome reading with its depth illustrated in last Saturday`s 125 point demolition of Murrayville in the Preliminary Final when players like Brock, James, Traeger featured in best player rankings above almost permanent stars in the Richardsons three, Josh Keller, Mail Medalist Patrick Barrett, Crabb and Gregory.
This will be a tough gig for Lameroo but if anyone is to pull off the unthinkable and win it is the Proud Hawks.
But the Crows look likely to finish the season with only that one loss–in the Second Semi Final when Lameroo brought the competition back to life.
The RIVERLAND INDEPENDENTS also have Grand Final Day this Saturday at East Murray.
And talk about injecting new interest into the premiership race Paringa rose from its slumber to belt East Murray in the Preliminary Final and gain another crack at defending champion Blanchetown Swan Reach.
BSR is not only chasing its second flag in a row but more importantly its third win in the past month over Paringa.
In the past two clashes including the Second Semi Final BSR has booted 31-23 to Paringa 15-16,— a dominance in anybody`s language.
But the Swans showed a lot of character in lifting itself off the mat to easily end the Tigers` season last weekend, in the process again putting on show the real team game that has brought it to this point in 2013.
However Zac and Sam Frahn, Jesse Watson, Andrew Lloyd, Chris Gardner, Nathan Rover, Tristan Jackson, Dean Hill, the Gudgeons and David Grenfell are definitely members of a ‘must perform’ group if their side is to reverse the previous result against the Redbacks.
Talking of performing? History tells us that you can safely assume that Dale Payne, Troy Cowland, Jamie Tanner, Jed and Max Martinson and Samson Marks will give BSR every chance of clinching another flag.
With solid support from their team mates Tipsy is tipping the Redbacks to bite again but it will be a lot closer than the last couple of match ups with the Swans.
In the RIVERLAND A GRADE Preliminary Final action takes us to Berri with the A grade clash to see Loxton North play Loxton.
The Panthers lost by six goals to Barmera Monash and the Tigers won by five points in an exhausting extended contest against Waikerie in the Semi Finals.
Arguably then Loxton North will come up the fresher for this outing and it boasts a good spread of contributors in Josh Nelson, the Prouds, the Hentschkes, Nathan Brown, Michael Scott, Anton Cook and Andrew Tullett completing good seasons.
The Tigers also have an abundance of talent however who are giving their all including Leigh Kruger, Nick Uren, Bryce Williams, Raph Liddle and Ryan Nickolls and as the season has headed to a conclusion there have been more seemingly lifting in form.
North beat Loxton by seven goals in the last meeting between these neighbours and that entitles it to favouritism in this game that has a grand final ticket as the prize.
But Tipsy senses it may be a cliff hanger.
HOCKEY
This weekend`s A grade Preliminary Finals see Renmark meet Berri in the women`s game and Renmark matched with 2012 premier Waikerie in the men`s.
After three draws out of four semi finals last week this may be a good time for Tipsy to apply for some annual leave.
But no we will battle on and predict a winning double for Renmark.
In the women`s game Renmark in goal keeper Tegan Moldovan, Jamie Butters, Sally Giles and, if they are available, Danielle Weeks and Juliet Mallinson may just have too many guns for a Berri side that on last week`s fight back against Waikerie lacks nothing in grit and determination.
But Kris Weir, Jen Kiel, Emma Burge, Ada Walladge, Kira McMahon and co will have other definite plans.
In the Men`s grade Renmark was very good in ending up 2-2 with top ranked Loxton in the Second Semi Final.
Ben Townsend, Brett Stokes, Callum Benda, Nigel Stoeckel, Adan Shaw and Stephen Cresp give Renmark a formidable unit but what of Waikerie?
After appearing to be on an extended ‘premiership hangover’ it has suddenly emerged as a genuine chance to defend its title.
Mark Kroehn, Rowan Hope, Rowan Kleemann, Tyson Grieger, Jason Redemski, Shaun Pick and associates now give Waikerie a 2012 look but that might not just be enough to bring Renmark`s season to a halt.
SOCCER
The topsy turvy season 2013 kept on its merry way last Sunday when the results of the last round of premiership program matches injected real life into the Top Four Cup competition that starts with semi finals at Loxton this week.
Berri River Rangers defeating 2013 premier Renmark Olympic and Barmera United trouncing Loxton United showed that this Top Four Cup is being sought seriously.
In the semi finals on Sunday Renmark meets Loxton and in what should be a ‘cracker’ of a contest Barmera is up against Berri.
The likes of Kyle Collinson, Daniel Clarke, Jesse Kahlon and Hari and Bari Singh should see Renmark progress to the Final despite the gallant efforts of Loxton`s Spyro Polymiadis and Tyson Renshaw.
On the other hand Barmera versus Rangers if everyone is on deck could be one of the games of the season.
The Barbers, Anthony Ielasi, Luke Ireland, Kosta Zois, Jim Fournaros, Josh Ekissa and co versus Edmond Grosser, Dave Gregoric, Steve Atkinson, Marcus Drogemuller, Russel Frankel and co should make for a thrilling contest. Barmera if its not a draw.
With Open Women`s premier Berri also losing its first game of the season to Renmark last Sunday that Top Four event takes on a new look as well.
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