Hull Pirates player-coach Jason Hewitt has urged his players not to change anything in their game as they look to end the weekend as NIHL Division One North champions.
The title race is going the distance with Pirates having to play the two teams they have to see off to win the championship in Telford Tigers and Sheffield Steeldogs.
And Hewitt says it’s a scenario you couldn’t script with all three sides sitting on 62 points going into the final rounds.
“It’s really exciting and it’s big games we really want to play. To have been set up like this, I don’t think anyone could have written it, with us all tied on points,” he said.
“The way we’ve been going and the way we’ve played in the last couple of months, we’re flying and I’m excited to be playing Telford and Sheffield.
“Plus it will be good for the boys to be involved in a couple of big games too and it’s great for the sport.
“I think some people start changing things that have made them successful when it gets to a stage like this where so much is at stake.
“My message to those guys is just do what you’ve done all year. Stay loose and keep to the routine you think has worked for you.
“It’s one of those things where no matter what I say or do, it’s either in the guys or it’s not. I believe we’ve got it in the room so I’m not worried about them at all.”
Pirates have won eight of their last nine going into the last two games, having racked up double figure scorelines in seven of those games along the way.
He admits that in a career laden with a number of honours from time at Sheffield Steelers, this one could be just a little more special.
Hewitt added: “I wouldn’t say I was nervous about the weekend. I’ve played in a lot of big games down the years, but I’m excited.
“It’s in our hands and we’ve made the joke that the winner stays on, with the two teams we’ve playing.
“It’s ours to lose at the moment and it’s simple for us. Win the two and we win the league. That’s what we wanted to do from the start and nothing’s changed in that respect.
“I’ve won some nice things down the years in my career, but it’s perhaps a little more special because I’m the coach now and would be a satisfying feeling.”
THIS WEEK’S TITLE DECIDING FIXTURES
Hull Pirates vs Telford Tigers (6pm), Solway Sharks vs Sheffield Steeldogs (7pm)
Sheffield Steeldogs vs Hull Pirates (5.30pm), Telford Tigers vs Solihull Barons (6pm)
WHAT HAPPENS THIS WEEKEND?
So what needs to happen for the respective teams to win?
In the North, anything can happen. Let’s remind ourselves of the tie-breakers from the NIHL Rules of Competition.
12.2. The positions of teams in league tables will be determined by the League statistician using the following primary criteria:
12.2.2. Points in games between the tied teams
12.2.3. Goal difference in games between the tied teams
12.2.4. Goals scored in games between the tied teams
12.2.5. Number of regulation wins
12.2.6. Overall goal difference
12.2.7. Overall goals scored