Top-of-the-table clash headlines round 15 of the GNFL with Chapman Valley’s season on the line

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Brigades' Hayden Johnson, right, chases down Railways' Beau Simpson.
Camera IconBrigades' Hayden Johnson, right, chases down Railways' Beau Simpson. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

Round 15 of the Great Northern Football League could very well see the minor premiership decided as Brigades take on Railways in a top-of-the-table clash.

The two teams go into the game level on 36 points each, with Railways currently occupying the top spot thanks to a slightly better percentage.

Each team has only two games left, which means the winner of this match will effectively be the minor premiers.

It is also the third meeting between these sides, with the ledger currently split at one-all.

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The Hawks smashed Railways by 60 points in round one before Railways got revenge in round seven in what was arguably the match of the season so far.

The Blues came from 13 points down at the final break to kick four goals to two and hold on for a four-point victory.

These teams will be playing each other in the finals and a win here might give the victor an important psychological edge.

However Railways coach Matthew Powell doesn’t believe there is any extra pressure going into the clash.

“There’s no added pressure this week; we put pressure on the players each week to perform at their best,” he said.

“It should be another good game. We’ve put a lot of work into making sure we are ready at this time of the year. I believe the boys are really ready.”

In terms of who has the better form, it’s hard to get a read on any of the top five teams at the moment, with anyone seeming to be able to win on their given day.

Railways looked odds on to finish top in the first half of the season before they fell away after the mid-season bye, suffering back-to-back defeats against Northampton and Chapman Valley.

Brigades took the mantle of top dog in their stead and looked imperious up until their performance against the Rovers last weekend, which was their first loss since the break.

The Blues have won their past two in a row but don’t seem to have the same killer edge as earlier in the season.

Powell said after some indifferent performances, the team was putting together some good football just at the right time.

“We have had a couple of wins in a row and whilst the scoreline may not reflect this, I believe some of the football we have played in those two games, especially the last game, will hold us in good stead for the finals,” he said.

While the top two fight it out, another clash has huge ramifications for who will make the finals.

Chapman Valley hosts Northampton, with the Royals’ season on the line as they are one game and a decent chunk of percentage outside of the top four with two games to go.

However, their last game is against Towns which they will fancy getting a big win from, so it comes down to this weekend’s clash against the Rams in what will be an eight-point game.

Rams sit in third with the best percentage of the three teams still fighting for the top four but have the toughest run home, with their final match being against Brigades.

If they lose this week, the Royals will join them on 28 points and make their match against Brigades in the final round a do-or-die clash.

The Royals’ season has been on the line since the mid-season bye and it seems that threat has spurned them to life as they have beaten two top four teams and dispatched Mullewa in that time.

But Northampton have a dangerous forward line, with Nathaniel Mourambine fresh from an eight-goal game and Trent Simpson having a stellar year while Dylan Corbett has run riot in the midfield.

It will take a big defensive effort but the Royals won’t be overawed by the pressure, having played under it and succeeded over the past month.

In the other game, Rovers should book themselves a spot in the finals with a win over Towns at home.

All games kick off at 1.30pm Saturday.

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