REMATCH: The Kingaroy Red Ants were impressive in defeat when they last played the Cherbourg Hornets.
REMATCH: The Kingaroy Red Ants were impressive in defeat when they last played the Cherbourg Hornets. Callum Dick

Final round form is crucial

Rugby League: Label it a dead rubber round all you like, but the final regular season of fixtures still looms as a pivotal one in shaping form lines ahead of the South Burnett Rugby League finals.

Cherbourg, Murgon, Nanango and Kingaroy have known their finals fate for a number of weeks now, and after last weekend's matches the top four has been set in stone.

But that does not mean tomorrow's two contests are any less important, as sides look to both maintain and return to winning form ahead of the knockout stages.

To that extent, it is interesting to note how the four sides will approach their final chance at a tune-up.

After showing a promising return to form over the past month, the Red Ants came crashing back to earth last time out in a 40-0 drubbing at the hands of Nanango.

Things get no easier for the boys in red this weekend, when they travel to face a Cherbourg Hornets side full of confidence.

The competition leaders sent a warning to the rest of the competition with a resounding 50-28 win over nearest rivals Murgon last weekend, and coach Errol Simpson has promised to pull no punches against the Red Ants.

However, Stags coach Joel Smallwood intends to do the opposite, and will rest a number of key players for his side's clash against Wondai tomorrow, with an eye to being fresh for the finals.

Wondai have struggled this season, recording just the one win, but with nothing but pride to play for expect a fired-up Wolves outfit to put their best foot forward.

The Red Ants hope to play themselves into form, the Hornets want to keep their momentum going, the Stags simply want to remain healthy and the Mustangs sit out the final round on a bye. Whose preparation will give them the best chance at hoisting the trophy? We will know in a few short weeks.

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