MDFL - It could be make or break for SM&W Rovers tomorrow when it clashes with the Mininera and District Football League's reigning premier Wickliffe/Lake Bolac.
The Bulldogs have won just one match this season and are languishing in ninth position and if the team drops this match it will be a long way back from there.
Coach Joe Carmody said his side has shown glimpses in the opening five rounds, just falling short to Caramut and Penshurst, but they were less than impressive prior to the interleague break against Lismore/Derrinallum.
"If you look at it in terms of wins and losses this is a vital contest," he said.
"I think we've put in pretty good performances in four out of our five matches, with the Lismore/Derrinallum match last round the exception.
"(The Demons) were first in and won the contested ball and during the times that we did win it we turned it over too easy.
"We have to be disciplined to our structures which I think is starting to happen and we need to maintain a strong work ethic across four quarters."
The Magpies have also produced a mixed bag of form so far this year and will need to win this weekend to stay in touch with the top five.
Both teams had solid representation in last week's Mininera interleague team, with Wickliffe/Lake Bolac coach Nic Willox and Bulldogs' veteran John Forbes in excellent touch.
Carmody said Forbes and centre half-forward Sam O'Brien are two players he is hoping can continue their form against the Magpies.
"He (Forbes) is pretty much the barometer in our team," he said.
"Just his pressure acts, smothers, all the one percenters are second to none and he is really getting reward for effort. He has had some outstanding games this season.
"I brought Sam here with me from the Ballarat Football Club and he is very much a confidence player. Once the confidence is up and going he is very hard to stop because he is so athletic as well as tall.
"Overall as I said at the start of the year there is going to be some ups and downs, but hopefully sooner rather than later we can turn it around."
Tatyoon looks set for its biggest challenge of the season so far when the ladder leader hits the road to take on a strong Lismore/Derrinallum team.
The Hawks will be looking to interleague heroes Damian Cameron, Arthur Armstrong, Sean McDougall, Tim McDougall and Steve Butler to continue their perfect start to the season.
The Demons have hardly put a foot wrong in the first five rounds either, only stumbling against Hawkesdale/Macarthur to go down by a goal.
Tatyoon will relish the challenge thrown at it by the home side and should be able to make it six from six.
It is not a case of who, but how much with Moyston/Willaura to host the hapless Ararat Eagles.
The Pumas proved last round what they can do against a struggling team in the Mininera, smashing Great Western by 161 points and the Eagles could be headed for similar punishment.
The visitors don’t have anywhere near enough depth to cover the likes of Aidan Bell, Aaron McKinnis, Daniel Guinane, Lachie Hamilton — and that’s just in the Pumas’ forward line.
The Eagles will also have to deal with an inform midfield led by Lynden Brewis and Sam Seres, along with Josh Bywater, Brady Curran and Luke Thomas.
Ararat Eagles’ coach Nathan Wemyss will battle hard, along with Nick Bulger, Lewis Baker and James Dalkin, but those experienced players can’t be expected to shoulder the load.
Great Western is well poised to notch up its second win of the season against Woorndoo/Mortlake.
Despite missing Leigh Preston, Adam Taylor and Damien Skurrie due to injury, the Lions have plenty of class in Lachie Malloy, Brett Dowie and Cody Virgona.
Danny Grellet will come in for his second game of the year after overcoming an ankle injury, while Nathan Ross and Lachie Hamilton have put their hand up for selection following impressive performances in the reserves over the last month.
The Tigers have struggled for many years, however a win won’t just happen for Great Western, it will have focus on the fundamentals and stick to its structures.
If the Lions can win the centre clearance count early and get the ball down to Ben Hustler and Adam Taylor, they should be able to build a winning lead.
The final matches of round six are Penshurst against Caramut and Glenthompson/Dunkeld taking on Hawkesdale/Macarthur.