Two familiar foe will face off in an exciting Horsham District netball league preliminary final on Saturday.
Reigning premiers Natimuk United hit a snag last weekend, losing their first match of the season against Laharum, and now face a tough assignment against the perennially strong Harrow-Balmoral.
"We didn't play well last week," Ewes coach Cheryl Sudholz said.
"We were flat, and not our usual selves as a team.
"They came out fighting and that's the way it happens. We are just hoping to find a bit more hunger."
However, the Ewes are also dealing with an injury cloud over Sudholz, who went down in the third term with a calf injury last weekend.
The long-serving Natimuk United star said it's looking touch-and-go for Saturday.
"It's getting better every day, and I'm doing everything I can - I'm hoping that I'm fit and ready for Saturday," she said.
"But if not, we've played enough in different positions this year that anyone I put there, I'm confident they will play just as hard and be just as strong."
Sudholz said the Ewes have plenty of other experience to draw on, and potentially some junior netballers who could step into her role.
Based on their previous encounters, Natimuk United also have an impressive recent record against Harrow-Balmoral.
The Ewes have won their last five contests, including a grand final victory in 2017. But the clashes between two of the league's strongest sides are almost never one-sided.
The only time the two sides have faced this season was a thrilling encounter, with Harrow-Balmoral just falling short after a sterling last quarter fightback, losing 41-44.
"It definitely could've been either way that day as well, both teams were up and down," Sudholz said.
"We want to start really well this week and hopefully get the win."
While Natimuk United enter the contest off the back of a loss, the Southern Roos will have their tails up after a dominant semi-final performance against Edenhope-Apsley.
Harrow-Balmoral outscored their opponents 25-6 in the second half, and coach Ebonie Salter said the team were feeling optimistic ahead of the weekend.
"We're excited, we just want to get out there and play and see how the game unfolds," she said.
"We've finally got everybody at full fitness ... we're ready to make changes throughout the game depending on how they line up.
"We're feeling confident but we know that it's going to be a really, really hard game."
Salter said the injury cloud over Sudholz added an element of the unknown.
"It could completely change how they play, so we just have to wait and see on the day," she said.
"But we want to play them at full fitness, and I really feel for Cheryl. You don't want to see anybody go down with injury, particularly at this time of the year."
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