The match between Mirboo North and Boolarra this Saturday will determine who hold top spot in round six of Mid Gippsland football.
A great deal of percentage separates the top two teams, who have shared the top end of the ladder since round two, from third-ranked Trafalgar.
Boolarra coach Tony Giardina said it was always a tough challenge coming to Mirboo North.
“The Boolarra-Mirboo North rivalry is going to a big one and I just hope the boys are up for the challenge,” Giardina said.
Mirboo North coach Troy Hamilton shared his enthusiasm and said the Tigers were looking forward to it.
Yinnar v Thorpdale
Yinnar has a chance to get its season back on track when it clashes with Thorpdale this weekend.
This match could also be Thorpdale’s best opportunity to knock off a top side during the first half of the season.
Both sides have shared mixed form this season, with consistency a common area targeted for improvement.
Thorpdale coach Brett Sherriff said if his side could avoid “lapses” of concentration then they would be able to keep up with Yinnar.
The Blues are a few games into a tough run, during which they face the top sides of the competition and realistically need to beat at least one in the coming weeks to have a chance at a finals berth.
Yinnar coach Sam McCulloch said there was room for improvement and work to be done at training before this weekend’s match.
McCulloch said the side needed to be mentally stronger and better focused when they faced the Blues.
Newborough v Yarragon
Yarragon faces tough opposition when it takes on Newborough this weekend.
After enduring a few losses Newborough has bounced back and won its last two games.
The Bulldogs look like returning to the top end of the ladder, where they spent most of last season.
This match will be an opportunity to get another win to its name and one step closer to a top three finish, but Yarragon will be doing its best to ensure this is not an easy win.
The Panthers have improved significantly since last year, but do not have the wins to show for it, going down narrowly to Thorpdale and Hill End this year.
Yarragon’s loss to Hill End not only robbed it of much-needed points, but with several players injured last week the side could have three out.
The extent of those injuries will determine the difficulty of this week’s task.
Hill End v Morwell East
This weekend’s clash between Morwell East and Hill End will be important to both sides.
They are sitting in the middle of the ladder in seventh and fifth spots respectively and a win would not only boost confidence, but help avoid pressure that could mount at the tail end of the season.
Morwell East has not had the start to the season it would have liked, while Hill End’s has been much better than some spectators had expected.
Both sides have proved that despite a loss of players during the pre-season they are still competitive and could cause further headaches.
Trafalgar v YYN
Yallourn Yallourn North travels to Trafalgar’s heavily guarded fortress this weekend.
While it did not show it on the scoreboard, the Bombers were competitive against Newborough last weekend and applied a lot of pressure, but were out matched by the Bulldogs in terms of fire power.
Back from a few weeks away, recruit Barry Brooks was able to slot through three goals and will be relied upon this weekend if the Bombers are to kick a winning score.
The Bloods are determined to win all games at home and ensure their venue is a place sides fear to travel to.