Morwell and Traralgon headline round 17 action this weekend in the penultimate home and away round in the Gippsland League.
Nothing separated the two sides when they last played in round eight with scores drawn at 54 apiece at the final siren.
Morwell hosted Wonthaggi in round 16 and held Warragul to just five goals on its way to record a 48-point win.
The Maroons were equally impressive in round 16 when they hosted Bairnsdale, flexing their muscles with a 70-point victory.
Traralgon coach Mark Collison said the grudge match was a big motivator for the Maroons.
“It’s a massive game for us and obviously there’s a huge rivalry as well, so we always look forward to playing them,” Collison said.
After a belting of Bairnsdale in round 16, Collison said his side was buoyed by its good form.
“We’re pretty confident that if we can focus and play the same sort of footy that we played on the weekend that the result will go our way,” he said.
Collison remained tight-lipped about strategy ahead of the weekend but said concentration was key.
“We’ll be looking to prepare well during the week and focus on the game.”
The Tigers sit in fifth spot on the ladder with eight wins for the season while Traralgon is in third with 11 wins.
Morwell coach Joel Soutar said this weekend’s game was a must-win for the Tigers ahead of finals.
“It’s a big game for us. Our rivalry with Traralgon goes back a long way and we know they’re a quality side and use the ball really well,” Soutar said.
He said the Tigers would need to be wary of several things ahead of the clash.
“Jordan Sandy and Jay Neagle are pretty dangerous up forward for Traralgon, so we’ve got to shut them down,” Soutar said.
“They also have very good midfielders with the likes of Collison and also they’re pretty strong off half back.
“Our pressure has to be up and if we can play our way then we’re definitely a chance.”
He said Morwell would look to replicate its round 16 form against Wonthaggi ahead of a 2017 finals berth.
“This is a pretty important game for us and if we can play a full four quarters like we did against Wonthaggi then we should do well.”
Wonthaggi v Moe
Wonthaggi’s finals hopes may have been dashed but that won’t stop it from putting up a fight when it hosts Moe this weekend.
Last time the sides faced off in round eight, Moe emerged victorious by nine points in a close encounter.
Wonthaggi is licking its wounds after it was on the receiving end of a 48-point beating at the hands of Morwell in round 16.
Moe went close to providing the upset of the week when it came within three points of second-placed Maffra.
Wonthaggi sits in seventh spot on the Gippsland League ladder with six wins for the season while Moe is in fourth with 10 wins.
Warragul v Leongatha
Warragul is faced with a tough task in round 17 when it hosts ladder leader Leongatha at Western Park.
The Parrots continued to assert their dominance at the weekend with a 105-point shellacking of Sale.
The Gulls finished round 16 in a similar fashion after they belted winless Drouin to the tune of 71 points.
Leongatha will start the match hot favourites and heads in with confidence after it won its last meeting with Warragul by 57 points in round eight.
Warragul is in sixth spot on the ladder with seven wins, a game shy of Morwell in fifth, and will need to upset the Parrots to help its chances of earning a finals berth.
Maffra v Drouin
Maffra will look to continue its winning run towards finals when it hosts a luckless Drouin outfit this weekend.
The Eagles escaped a close call against Moe last round to come away with a three-point win.
Drouin continues its winless ways in season 2017 when it was overrun to the tune of 71 points by Warragul.
The Eagles are poised in second spot on the Gippsland league ladder and trail Leongatha on percentage.
Bairnsdale v Sale
Bairnsdale and Sale are both out of finals contention for 2017 but the sides will play for honour when they meet in round 17 action.
Last time the sides met in round eight Bairnsdale notched 18 goals on its way to a 47-point victory.
Bairnsdale will look to redeem itself after it endured a 70-point defeat at the hands of Traralgon at the weekend.
Sale suffered a similar fate and fell to ladder leader Leongatha by 105 points.
The Redlegs sit in ninth spot on the table with four wins for the season while Sale is a game ahead in eighth.