Maroons seek to prolong ’Rose’s agony with sixth win

ALL eyes turn to Netherdale this Saturday to see if Gala can continue their impressive run of victories over local arch rivals Melrose.

Two wins this season and three in the previous one, makes the Maroons’ current tally of five victories in a row one of their longest consecutive winning runs against the Greenyards outfit.

Last Saturday’s 5-15 defeat at the hands of the Netherdale side actually leaves Melrose facing the unthinkable – a potential relegation battle.

So this Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final affords’Rose a chance to recoup something from a season rapidly going downhill.

But considering they havefound no answer to a dominant Gala side in their last five encounters, it is hard to see what they can change ahead of this weekend.

Melrose president John Reed is all too aware of what is at stake. “We know what Gala are like, the problem is we don’t seem to be able to work out how to deal with it,” he told The Southern.

“We are capable of winning on Saturday, but we’re just not in form at the moment and need to find a way out of this dip. The players don’t seem to have the confidence.

“But there’s no point in being despondent about it. The next two games have the ability to turn our season right round and we have players who are capable of winning these games.”

For his part, Gala captain Opeta Palepoi is taking nothing for granted: “Melrose will be hurting after last Saturday and they’ll be a totally different side when it comes to this game.

“It’s great we’re building momentum, but you have to expect the unexpected and we’ll be ready for that on Saturday.”

And with pressure to contest the championship now shrugged from his players’ shoulders, Palepoi says performances are starting to come together.

“This is a young team and now the league pressure is off, you can see them starting to enjoy themselves and show what they can do.

“It would be absolutely great to get to the cup final again, not just for the players, but for the club and all the supporters who’ve been tremendous this year.

“That said, however, we can’t be thinking any further ahead than the Melrose game on Saturday.”