By PHILIP CHANDLER
Courtesy of a wonky draw, the Wakatipu and Arrowtown Premiers rugby sides’ semis will be against the same teams, at the same venues, they played last weekend’s qualifying finals at.
After a tense final few minutes at the Queenstown Recreation Ground, Wakatipu beat Upper Clutha 17-15 last Saturday.
Assuming Upper Clutha beat Maniototo in an elimination final this Saturday, the same teams will square off at the Rec Ground on July 3 — their third match-up in five weeks after Waka beat them 14-0 at home on May 29.
Arrowtown, meanwhile, after losing their White Horse Cup challenge against Cromwell 27-17 last weekend, play Alexandra in a home elimination final this Saturday — kick-off’s 2.30pm.
Assuming Arrowtown win — they beat Alex 49-17 in the round robin — they’ll travel again to Cromwell to play a semi the following weekend.
Wakatipu coach Brett Anderson says the draw — it’s the first time the Central Otago comp’s had this NRL-style finals for mat — ‘‘seems very odd, it’s bizarre’’.
Arrowtown coach Dan Eyles adds: ‘‘I think they’ve probably got this draw wrong a wee bit — they should have swapped it around so if we were to win this week we’d go and play Wakatipu in the semi, so it just mixes it up really, keeps things interesting.’’
Anderson says ‘‘no one really knows if it’s an advantage or a disadvantage taking a week off at this time of year, especially when there’s been so many weeks off already’’.
He’s countering that by ensuring his team have ‘‘a pretty hard training week’’, this week, while hoping Upper Clutha and Maniototo ‘‘have a real good ding-dong battle, and no matter who we end up against, there might be a few sore bodies’’.
Eyles, who’s frustrated at his team’s performance against Cromwell, after they led 12-3, says at least they get one more home game this Saturday.
Then, if they win, he’s hoping they’ll learn from last week end’s mistakes when they play Cromwell again in the semis.
Meanwhile, Wakatipu Wanderers lost 24-0 to Drummond-Limehills-Star last weekend and the Wakatipu women’s side lost 22-19 to Marist.