Queensland derby should be a cracker
At this stage of the season, you can almost forget about the form book, especially in matches such as these
The most intriguing clash in the last round of the A-League's regular season sees the two new boys battle it out in Townsville, suggests Andy Morris.
At the start of their inaugural season, most people expected the North Queensland Fury to struggle, even with big-name Robbie Fowler in their front line, and Gold Coast United to finish mid-table.
It seems a though both teams will round off the season exceeding those expectations.
North Queensland don't deserve to finish last, and providing they pick up at least a point against their Queensland rivals, or Adelaide United fail to win, they will avoid the wooden spoon.
Indeed, if results go their way and they finish off with a victory, they could finish as high as seventh, which will be a fair reflection of the way they have improved during a season in which they started dreadfully.
For United, though, a win is a must to retain their hopes of finishing second. They lost any chance of a minor premiership last week in going down to Wellington, but providing they can beat the Fury, and Sydney don't win this weekend, the Gold Coast will finish behind Melbourne in second spot.
Hosting the match at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night, the Fury will be quite confident they can see off their rivals.
The past five home games have produced four wins and a draw, whereas Gold Coast have only won once in their past six away games.
Early in the season, United established bragging rights by beating the Fury 5-0, but full credit to the Townsville side for bouncing back, and they beat United 2-0 in the return in October.
At this stage of the season, you can almost forget about the form book, especially in matches such as these. United would have been supremely confident of beating the Phoenix last week, based upon their 1-0 success over Melbourne the previous game, but they came unstuck.
Meanwhile, the Fury beat Newcastle 2-1 in round 25 but were downed 2-0 in Melbourne last time out.
Gold Coast's setback last week was their first defeat in eight games and coach Miron Bleiberg will hope they can bounce back, especially as he is able to recall Tahj Minniecon for the match following a thigh injury.
Both teams have plenty to play for in this one, and you can expect United to try and boss the game. However, being such bad travellers, I don't see them being able to down the Fury in what has become a bit of a fortress.
A draw is likely to be no use to either team, but this game is so tight I would suggest a wager on the draw is the best option.