North Gippsland football’s top seven will aim to create new premiership tales this September, but rampaging ladder leader Heyfield tightens its hold on flag favouritism each week.
While the Kangaroos appear to have one hand on the premiership silverware following last Saturday’s convincing victory against Cowwarr, there are a number of challengers emerging.
Glengarry proved it is not far off the mark and Traralgon Tyers United should not be dismissed with momentum in the back half of the season.
The top two is confirmed but five teams are still in contention for the other three finals spots.
Churchill dropped to seventh position after a final quarter fade out against Glengarry while the Magpies jumped to third.
With a tough run home for both, this week will provide an opportunity for vital points in a round which will see a number of top six sides do battle.
There is no bigger game than that between second-placed TTU and top of the table Heyfield.
A lot has changed at both camps in the nine weeks since their last meeting, when the Bombers were dealt their first defeat by one point. Following that clash the wheels began to wobble for the Bombers in an inconsistent month of football that bore little success.
Similar to TTU, the Kangaroos’ form has not been convincing toward the pointy end of the season, despite taking most points on offer.
With bragging rights on the line ahead of a possible second semi-final showdown, TTU coach Matt Stolarczyk will be out to topple the ladder leaders in a tight physical contest.
Churchill v Boisdale Briagolong
SITTING outside the five and with its hopes of returning to finals action in 2013 slipping, Churchill can ill afford to take Boisdale Briagolong lightly after the Bombers claimed the honours in their previous contest.
The Cougar coaching panel will closely watch the result between Rosedale and Glengarry, along with Cowwarr and Woodside, with the Saints two points clear of Churchill in the five.
Between now and the final siren on Saturday the Cougars must lift their intensity and demonstrate they are worthy of a finals berth.
The Bombers have shown development and improvement, but lapses have cost them matches to the competition front runners.
Rosedale v Glengarry
ROSEDALE will gauge its strength when it hosts the red hot Magpies.
Glengarry has won four of its last five, including several big scalps, firming its hold on a finals berth.
After relinquishing third spot to the Pies with a loss to Woodside, the Blues will be keen to regain ladder position, but are yet to win against Glengarry in 2013.
Dropping their earlier contest by 47 points the Blues will need to lead the charge on the scoreboard early and contain the Magpies forward line of Mark Engley and Josh King who shared 16 majors at the weekend.
Gormandale v Sale City
DESPITE sitting at the tail end of the table, the match between Gormandale and Sale City offers plenty, with the Tigers eager for redemption following the one that got away against the Dogs in round seven.
On the back of a resurgent final term performance, the Tigers should be confident of their chances against the Dogs, who felt the wrath of TTU last Saturday.
Sale City coach Joel Brayshaw will need to refocus his charges and have them primed for the contest, despite having less to play for than in recent years.
Cowwarr v Woodside
COWWARR faces a danger game against Woodside, despite a nine-goal win last time around.
After closing in on fifth position in recent times the Saints fell away against Heyfield last week and will be wary of the Wildcats who came from behind to defeat the highly-fancied Blues.
Like the Saints, the Wildcats are desperate to keep their slim chances of making the top five intact and, with a tough run against Glengarry and TTU to come, Saturday is crunch time.
On the other side of the fence, Cowwarr has drawn TTU and Gormandale in the final two weeks and will also be feeling pressure to perform.