Round 18 Preview: Final flurry as top four sides chase home berths

Fri, Aug 25, 2023, 4:00 AM
Rugby Union SA
by Rugby Union SA

Southern Suburbs have already wrapped up the women’s minor premiership while the Premier men’s honour is Brighton’s to lose as clubs converge for the final round of regular season action.

Souths secured top spot following Round 17 and will enjoy the bye this weekend as Woodville and Burnside go toe-to-toe for second place at Parkinson Oval.

The two sides last met in Round 9 with Burnside grinding out an 8-7 win at Gleneagles Reserve.

A bonus point win would likely see the Double Blues leapfrog Woodville, however the Wasps have a three-point advantage on the ladder and would hand onto their lead with a win, draw or by securing two losing bonus points.

Adelaide University have already secured their finals berth (fourth) regardless of the above result.

Meanwhile Brighton’s destiny is in their own hands this weekend – they’ll host Southern Suburbs in what’s been described a “trial finals run” by Tigers coach Richard Wasley.

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Defeating Souths would guarantee the minor premiership and a home semi-final for Brighton.

The Bulls are already locked into fourth place and could go one higher by beating the Tigers, though they’ll be reliant on Adelaide Uni upsetting third-placed Old Collegians.

Burnside have the most to gain from a Brighton loss – the Double Blues will take the minor premiership if Souths roll the Tigers – while Onkaparinga and Elizabeth are out to end their Premier Grade seasons on a high.

Meanwhile Brighton’s Reserve Grade side have already secured top spot and are gunning for an 18th consecutive win in 2023 when they tackle Souths.

Third Grade’s final round shapes a grand final preview in Brighton Gold (first) versus Barossa (second) with just two competition points currently separating the sides.