Traralgon and Maffra have a lot riding on their clash this weekend with the winner going into a qualifying final next weekend and the loser facing Morwell in a cutthroat elimination final in Gippsland League football.
With the stakes so high this match has great importance and the reigning premiers have the better form with three consecutive wins against Wonthaggi Power, Drouin and Morwell, while Maffra has dropped its past two against Sale and Wonthaggi Power.
Should Maffra lose this week it will be the first time in 12 years the Eagles have lost three consecutive matches.
Traralgon has recovered from being challenged for a finals spot to win five of its past six matches to become a threat to the rampaging Sale.
On Sunday Traralgon made Morwell look second rate with a 57-point win; however, the Tigers had no bench after half-time and that did not help Morwell’s situation.
But before that happened Morwell was already struggling.
At the time of going to print Danny Campbell and Michael Stockdale were facing the Independent Tribunal; the outcome is unknown.
If Campbell was suspended then it will be a bitter blow to Traralgon as he was one of the better onballers of the competition.
Maffra’s home ground advantage should hold no fears for this Traralgon unit as it has won two of its past three games at the venue.
Morwell v Drouin
A battered Morwell is home to Drouin and Tigers coach Damien Kerr has hinted several players suffering from injuries and soreness could be rested this week; Adam Bailey would fall into this category.
Kerr was buoyed by the game Julian Blackford played last week in his first for the year after recovering from a knee operation.
Blackford has been a key defender for the Tigers.
Matthew Scholz was another promising player available and with the reserves safe for a finals spot a couple more may be promoted.
Drouin will be keen to finish off the season with a win against a finalist and it has won the past five matches against Morwell.
Bairnsdale v Moe
Moe travels to Bairnsdale and both sides have had a disappointing year and this is their grand final.
If Moe wins it can hand back the wooden spoon to Warragul, but only if the Seagulls lose against Wonthaggi Power.
Lions coach Jason Macfarlane has had a tough job this year after several key players tried their luck with Mid Gippsland Football League teams.
He had unearthed several promising players including Declan Keilty, Jack Casson and Geoff Whelan and their under 16 side is bursting with talent.
Macfarlane hopes defender Kane Airdrie will be available after a spider bite put him in hospital last week.
Bairnsdale has won three and a half games at home out of nine matches, beating Traralgon, Drouin and Warragul and drawing with the Tigers after having won at Morwell earlier this year.
Leongatha v Sale
Top sides Sale and Leongatha face off on Saturday night and a few weeks ago this was the most anticipated match, barring the grand final.
Sale has taken all before it this season winning 16 out of 17 games and its only blemish was a five-point loss to Morwell in round six.
The Magpies’ percentage is 89 per cent greater than Leongatha’s and is possibly the highest by any club in senior football in Latrobe Valley football.
Leongatha has had an emotional period in the past few months and this has been reflected in its general play.
Against Moe it had the team to win by 20 goals but its players had trouble keeping their minds on the job at hand.
Coach Will Thursfield may not play again this year after sustaining a serious hamstring problem.
Injuries to Beau Vernon, Hayden Brown, Dylan Westaway and Mick Otto have not helped the Parrots either.
Sale has a full list to pick from for its finals campaign.
The Magpies’ defence is the best in the competition and last time they met prolific goalkickers Jake Best and Dwayne Holt were kept quiet.
Holt may be rested this game as he went off injured against Moe and there is nothing riding on this match.
Warragul v Wonthaggi
Last year when Warragul met Wonthaggi the Seagulls scored an upset win and the same could be on the cards this match.
If Moe defeats Bairnsdale they are in danger of winning the wooden spoon.
Wonthaggi has had its share of injuries and this could be Leigh McDonald’s last game at the helm.
Mid-season McDonald retired from football due to too many hard knocks.
Since then he has had a lean time as a non-playing coach but that can be contributed to a lot of team injuries.
Warragul lost George Morgan when he resigned as coach and Justin Cant took over the reins for one win.
This game is important to both coaches but Warragul might have more incentive to land the points.