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The Minor Premierships might be decided but there is still plenty to play for in the final round of the 2023 Peter McDonald Premiership this weekend.

Mudgee Dragons and Dubbo CYMS finished on top of the Group 10 and Group 11 tables respectively, but there are teams still fighting for a second chance come finals and the right to host a home Semi-final.

All eyes will be on the situation in Group 10, with Orange Hawks, Bathurst St Pat’s, and Bathurst Panthers all capable of finishing second, third, or fourth.

The advantage lies with the Hawks, who are on 18 competition points and are a game ahead of the third-placed Saints and fourth-placed Panthers.

After missing finals in 2022, it’s a massive turnaround for the Orange outfit, and coach Alex Prout said his outfit was desperate for a top-two finish.

“We’re planning to win this weekend and take all the guessing out of the equation,” Prout said.

“We’d like to finish second, and we’ll do everything we can to win and get our two shots in finals instead of playing do-or-die footy.”

In the game of the round, the Hawks host the Saints at Wade Park on Sunday, with the winner finishing second.

With so much on the line, Prout didn’t want to spend too much energy focusing on the Bathurst side.

“Realistically, we just need to focus on ourselves,” Prout said.

“Our completion rates have been poor all year, and it’s cruelled us in most games we've lost, and even in some games we've won; we’ve had a poor completion rate.

“We’ll look to complete at a high rate, hold the ball, and play smart footy.”

Depending on the result between the Hawks and Saints, the Panthers are an outside hope of leapfrogging both teams into second position and they will rate their chances when they host Mudgee at Carrington Park on Sunday.

Prout said the closeness of the 2023 competition made it hard to pick the results of any game leading into what should be an enthralling Peter McDonald Premiership finals series.

“There’s not going to be an easy game,” Prout said.

“It’s not like last year, and it’s going to be tough, and realistically, any team can win the competition.

“You need to be prepared to play some tough footy in finals, and when you’re playing do-or-die footy, you need to get it right, or you’ll miss your opportunity.”

While the make-up of the Group 10 top four is still up in the air, in Group 11, it’s a lot less convoluted with Parkes in a prime position to finish second.

Only a significant loss to the bottom-of-the-table Forbes at Spooner Oval on Sunday would see them leapfrogged by the Wellington Cowboys, who need to make a statement against the fifth-placed Macquarie Raiders at Apex Oval on Sunday.

The fourth-placed Nyngan Tigers can’t move up or down the ladder, but heading into finals, they have everything to prove in Round 15, hosting the top-of-the-table Dubbo CYMS.

Click here for the Peter McDonald Premiership draw and ladders.

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