After Kingston and Keith took the Bendigo Bank Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Football League by storm over the first five rounds, the pair will fight tooth and nail this Saturday in the biggest clash of the season so far.
Neither side has been troubled so far in 2021 and are in a league of their own, but only one will remain undefeated with the ladder lead after this weekend’s round 6.
The Saints’ dream run continued in round 5 last Saturday after they put on a clinic at McCorquindale Park in round 5.
However, the darling of the KNTFL did not have it all its own way as Penola fought hard in the opening stages.
Led by midfield sergeants Brad Bryant and Scott Merrett, the Eagles gave the home crowd hope, trailing by just one point at quarter time.
But Penola could not maintain the momentum under the pressure of Kingston’s confident team.
The Eagles did not trouble the scorers in the second term, which created a steep mountain to climb in the second half.
Meanwhile, Ben Warner ran riot at the other end, dominating the Saints’ forward 50 with five goals.
His haul was the driving force behind Kingston’s 33-point win.
The Saints’ arch-rival Keith put Padthaway in its place with a crushing second half.
Initially the fourth-placed Lions appeared up for the fight and led at the first break before tying the scores at midway.
Luke Harder was the Padthaway’s major weapon with five majors, while Jason Mccarthy continued his strong form around the ground.
However, the Crows stormed home and outscored the Lions by 39 points after half time.
Many of them were kicked by Ben Simounds and Albert Dunstan, who put the finishing touches on the hard work from Patrick Capurso and Lachlan Johnson.
The commanding win is yet another feather in Keith’s cap, but there is no doubt the biggest test awaits at Kingston this weekend in a possible grand final preview.
Elsewhere Bordertown sent a statement by accounting for Naracoorte with relative ease.
Joshua Searle and Thomas Whittlesea were the stars in the Roosters’ 51-point win which was orchestrated by a crushing start.
Bordertown kicked 11 goals to two to seal the game before the main break.
The Demons manufactured a late recovery during an entertaining second half, but it was too little, too late.
Another fast start gave Border Districts the upper hand over Kybybolite.
Kyby could not turn it on after the first bounce and managed just seven points in the first two quarters.
By that time Border Districts had already jumped clear with five goals thanks to Shawn Mansell and went on to win despite Kybybolite finally finding the goals.
Mundulla sealed third spot on the ladder by prevailing against Lucindale.
After only four points separated the sides at quarter time, the Mundulla Tigers kicked clear during the second and third terms.
Harry Dowling was the chief destroyer and his five-goal haul sparked a 97-56 win.
This weekend Lucindale hopes to recover against the winless Kybybolite, Mundulla meets Bordertown, while Padthaway and Naracoorte could be a close game.
The Eagles travel to Frances and hope to snap a four-game losing streak against Border Districts.
In the Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Netball Association, Bordertown came within two goals of a maiden win of the 2021 season.
Coming up against a fancied Naracoorte, the Roosters impressed their home crowd with an uplifting performance.
Trailing by 10 goals at the final break, Bordertown charged home thanks to Mel Jarrett and Natalie Twigden.
However, the Demons’ defence of Sophie Henschke and Ash Bennier were able to hold onto a tight win.
Keith cruised to another easy victory by knocking over Padthaway by 26 goals in the highest scoring game of the round.
A dominant second half ensured Border Districts prevailed over Kybybolite.
Kyby came out to play early and matched their rivals goal for goal.
But the home side conceded almost double the amount of goals it scored across the final three terms to lose 57-34.
Lucindale also shifted gears after half time to knockoff Mundulla.
Fresh from a week off, Penola returns with an away game against Border Districts, while Bordertown and Mundulla could be the closest game as ladder-leader Keith has the bye.