THE bounce of the ball or a flashy piece of player brilliance will provide the winning edge for teams in tomorrow's nights Hastings League preliminary semi finals series.
That's the opinion of league president Geoff Connor.
"Both the preliminary minor and major semi finals could come down to that one piece of magic," Connor said.
"Or simply how the ball bounces on the night.
"The sudden death clash between the Lake Cathie Raiders and the Macleay Valley Magpies will be a really tough battle.
"The Raiders are currently struggling for player depth at the moment and could find themselves up against it with the bigger Magpies forwards.
"The Magpies have always been thereabouts in the semi finals and Luke Dufty's kicking game will prove very handy for field position, particularly if it is a bit wet.
"On paper you would think the Magpies would win, but, it is sudden death, so anything is possible."
And if the knockout contest is brewing as a top contest, Connor predicted the preliminary major semi final between second placed South West Rocks Marlins and the Comboyne Tigers could be the best match of the entire series.
"The Tigers haven't hit their straps just yet and will be hard to beat," he said.
"Comboyne has the size and the ability to play off-the-cuff football and if classy five-eighth Joseph Paio makes a return - as predicted - then he could well prove to be the difference.
"The Marlins haven't really surprised me and have been very consistent, the most consistent team in the competition along with Kendall, all year.
"They are well coached, well drilled, have a good structure and don't give away many penalties.
"They play perfect football to win plenty of Hastings League games," he said.
Connor said the competition winner was likely to come from one of those top three sides.
The semi final series kicks off at 6pm on Saturday night at the Lank Bain Sporting Complex. Full bar and canteen facilities are available.
Junior league semi final matches will be played at the venue leading up to the Hastings League matches.