It can go one of two ways for the Maitland Pickers when they host the Macquarie Scorpions on Saturday afternoon.
A win from the round three catch up match would put the Pickers in a three-way share of third spot on the competition ladder approaching the midway point of the Newcastle Rugby League season, while a loss could leave them back in equal fifth.
“It looks a lot more attractive being in a three-way share of third than a three-way share of fifth,” Pickers coach Ron Griffiths said.
“So it would be good to get the two points from this one.”
The added complication for the two-time defending premiers will be coming up against the in-form second-placed Scorpions.
Macquarie have been the surprise packet of 2012 so far and after knocking off top five teams Kurri Kurri and Western Suburbs in recent encounters they will look to add another big scalp to their list.
And leading the charge for Macquarie will be coach and the 2010 Pickers premiership-winning mentor Noel Dent.
Dent said he was unsure whether Daine Laurie would play for the Scorpions on Saturday.
As for the Pickers, Newcastle representative forward Billy Towers has been named to start at lock despite dislocating his finger recently, while Kyran Bubb’s knee injury is not as bad as first thought and he has been placed on the bench.
Marco Delapena begins on the wing with Matt Marshall a fresh reserve, while 2012 signings Darcy Etrich (halfback) and Ryan Walker (fullback) will spend more time in new roles for Jade Porter (injured) and Joel Osborn (wing) respectively.
Skipper Colby Schrader misses the match on holidays in Bali, which also rules him out of the NSW Country Championship semi-final for Newcastle on June 16.
Kick off is 3pm.
Undefeated competition leaders Cessnock meet South Newcastle at Townson Oval on Friday night after their scheduled match was washed out last round.
Kick off is 8.30pm.
LADDER: Cessnock 14, Macquarie 12, Western Suburbs 10, Kurri Kurri 10, Maitland 8, Central Newcastle 8, South Newcastle 6, Wyong 4, Lakes United 4, Port Stephens 0.
1. Ryan Walker, 2. Joel Osborn, 3. Gavin Quinn, 4. Geordie Connelly, 5. Marco Delapena, 6. Joby Patten, 7. Darcy Etrich, 8. Eni Folau, 9. PJ Ellis, 10. Damien Frize, 11. Brenton Horwood, 12. Jacob Sinclair, 13. Billy Towers, 14. Luke Mercer, 15. Kyran Bubb, 16. Brendan Neal, 17. Matt Marshall