Wickliffe/Lake Bolac will look to extend its winning streak to five matches tomorrow against Caramut and push further up the Mininera and District Football League ladder in the process.
The Magpies completed the perfect month of football last week with a 113-point thumping of the Ararat Eagles and received an extra bonus of moving into the top five for the first time this season.
The Swans will be a much tougher proposition for the reigning premiers, currently sitting equal-second on the ladder.
Wickliffe/Lake Bolac coach Nic Willox said his team is getting stronger each round as it continues to welcome back a number of important players including Michael Blackburn and assistant coach Chis Hilet in recent weeks.
"We have got a bit more structure back with those senior guys coming back into the team," he said
"That sort of helps everyone really hone down on playing their role and helping the team in that way."
Despite two 100-plus point victories in the last fortnight, Willox said those wins were probably not good preparation to face a fellow top five side.
"I don't think so because I guess it can make you a bit lazy and start off slow after those big wins," he said.
"Having said that we have been able to get our game plan going in those matches and practise a bit of stuff, which has also been handy."
Young gun Bailey Veale in just his second match was the Pies' best last week.
The 16-year-old is looking like a good addition to the Wickliffe/Lake Bolac line-up, with his ability to run hard and carry the ball.
Willox said two of the Magpies’ most influential players in Brad Keilar and Michael Otto will also be critical to the team’s fortunes tomorrow.
“Spacey (Keilar) is definitely really important, he is the big guy in the middle that does all the hard work,” he said.
“He holds down the ruck for most of the day and just does his job every week.
“(Otto) plays either back or forward, wherever the team needs him at that time. He is another that just does his job and is a very handy footballer to have on the park.”
With Caramut and Wickliffe/Lake Bolac to play twice in the next six weeks, Willox said getting the early bragging rights would be very valuable.
“We play them in the second last round as well, which will perhaps be a top five shake up,” he said.
“They have been playing some very good footy recently and have a couple of key forwards which helps their structure. Then you’ve got the midfielders led by (Nathan) Jones and (Todd) Lamont, they carry the footy very well.
“We are sort of going into a bit of an unknown, so we will just have to take it as it comes on Saturday.”
Tatyoon will be desperate to stop its season from spiralling further when it hosts Glenthompson/Dunkeld.
After starting the season with six straight wins, the Hawks have dropped their last three to tumble from top spot on the ladder to fourth.
Brodie Mines found form in the wet last week, while in the forward line brothers John and Steve Butler combined to kick eight of Tatyoon’s 10 goals.
With Sean McDougall continuing to fire and coach Jarrod Blandford now having two games under his belt after recovering from injury, the Hawks shouldn’t have trouble getting back on the winners’ list against a hapless Rams.
If SM&W Rovers wants to keep its slim finals’ hopes alive it can’t afford to drop tomorrow’s contest against Great Western.
The Bulldogs caused an upset last week to record their third win of the season, while the Lions continue to chase theirs.
Wingman Tyler Mason will be an important runner again and will look to deliver the ball to leading goal kicker Sam O’Brien.
Tristian Fay is performing as a tagger for Rovers and may get the job of restricting in-form Great Western onballer Lachie Malloy, who has been well served by ruckman Rayne Salmon.
The task doesn’t get any easier for the Ararat Eagles, up against a rising Hawkesdale/Macarthur team.
While junior development remains the focus of the Eagles, last week saw its more experienced players lead the way in Nick Bulger, Ash Leggett and Luke Foster.
Aaron Jenkins also found plenty of the ball in the backline and is likely to match-up on the Southern Eagles’ power forward Charles Nield.
Top of the table Moyston/Willaura meets serial wooden spooner Woorndoo/Mortlake this weekend and you don’t need to be Nostradamus to predict the outcome of this contest.
To the Tigers’ credit they have bridged the gap marginally between some of the lower teams in the competition, but up against the power of the Pumas victory is an impossible ask.
Luke Thomas was a live wire for Moyston/Willaura through the middle last week, while Aaron Pianta and Jacob Hamilton also rated a mention.
In the final match of the round Lismore/Derrinallum and Penshurst go head-to-head.
Wickliffe/Lake Bolac v Caramut (at LB): Tommy Cooper and David Reynolds
Lismore/Derrinallum v Penshurst (at Lis): Chris Butler (car) and Paul Spriggs
Woorndoo/Mortlake v Moyston/Willaura (at Woorn): Greg McKinnis (car) and Leo Mooney