By Liam Emerton
Rocky Rustlers will venture back to club land this weekend to recommence the Campbell Construction Co Rugby League competition.
Heading into the ninth round, teams will have just six more games to fight for a spot in the top four.
Heading into the latter rounds of the competition the fixtures have given local supporters a number of mouth-watering games to dig their teeth into.
A big match of round nine is the clash of the Fish when Gladdy Brothers collide with Rocky Brothers.
Rockhampton need to start winning a majority of their games if they want to get to the top four by the finals series begins.
Even with a win and the fourth-placed Fitzroys losing this week the Brothers would still be a point off the top four.
The Brothers previous derby finished 36-18 with Rockhampton being the victor on the day.
In the only all-Gladstone round nine matchup the Tannum Sands Seagulls take on fellow GRL club the Valley Diehards.
The Valleys are the best ranked Gladstone squad in the competition right now with a win bringing them right into contention for the finals series.
The Diehards earned the two points in the reverse fixture, winning 28-16 away from home.
This round will also be the biggest test of the season for the sizzling Fitzroy-Gracemere Sharks when they match up against the Emu Park Emus.
The Sharkies have been by far the most improved team this season and after beating third-placed Norths Chargers two rounds ago, their sights are now set on the second-placed Emus.
The Parkies are just below league-leaders Yeppoon having lost just one match this season.
Their most recent victory came when they snuck past the barnstorming Gladstone Brothers, who almost forged an incredible comeback.
But the Emus are one of the most composed teams in the competition with their senior players able to help withstand the mounting pressure that came from Gladstone last round.
This week the Parkies will travel to Salesyard Park, a tough venue for any side to play at especially with a roaring home crowd behind the Sharks.
Five-eight Cyron Tull has been a welcomed addition to the Fitzroys this season and scored twice in the reverse fixture between the two clubs.
That being said it was Emu Park which had the last laugh, winning 24-14 at the Hartley Street Sports Complex back in round two.
This match is expected to be even tighter with a converted try margin for either team a very likely scenario.
And if that top four clash wasn’t enough, how about another one when the Yeppoon Seagulls fly into battle against the Norths Chargers.
The Seagulls are still perched on top of the leaderboard but won’t want to look down with the Chargers and Emus sprinting towards them.
This weekend will prove to be a golden opportunity for Norths with a huge win potentially propelling them to the top of the table.
A loss to the Chargers could send down the Seagulls as low as third place, but with the best defence in the league, the Yeppoon side will be incredibly tough to even put two tries past.
In their reverse fixture the Seagulls dominated the Chargers, winning 34-4 but expect this game to be a much closer affair.
In the women’s competition, after pushing into the top four thanks to a 38-26 win over Yeppoon, the Gladstone Wallabys face off against the Rockhampton Brothers.
Brothers currently sit in the runners-up spot on the table but face a truly tough task in the Wallabys.
Yeppoon will look to bounce back when they take on Norths Chargers, while league-leaders Emu Park travel to the Fitzroys’ home paddock.