THE equation for who would claim a top two spot between Sunbury and Redan was simple – or so it seemed.
If Sunbury won, the double chance would be 100 per cent secure. You could lock it in and throw away the key.
If Redan won, it would most likely seal it and subject the reigning premier to third spot, although it would still come down to the last round of action.
But then something happened that nobody had brought into calculation - the match finished in a draw.
No winner, no loser.
What would that mean for the competition?
Attention quickly turned to the ladder.
Was the race for second spot still open?
The answer: very much so.
Sunbury initially believed it had done enough, but closer analysis of the ladder showed the reigning premier was in fact still just one win ahead of Redan, with just three percentage points separating the two sides.
With North Ballarat City waiting in the clutches next week, the Eastern Lions’ fate is in their own hands.
If they beat North, second spot cannot be taken from them, regardless of what Redan does.
If Sunbury loses, the maroon and gold will be favourites to leapfrog, with an expected strong win over Melton.
It would see Redan jump into second spot for the first time this season, but at the most important time of the year.
Coach Eammon Gill has paid little attention to the ladder all year, but is now very much aware of where his side stands.
However, the reality for him is that his side has little control over the situation.
All it can do is win, and win well, next week and pray to the football gods the reigning premier goes down again next week.
Regardless of where Redan finishes, Saturday’s performance showed Gill that his side could match it with its bogey team of late.
“Given where we are trying to get to and where we have come from, it (Saturday’s match) meant a lot,” he said.
“We would have loved to win but it is out of our hands now and all we can do is front up next week.”
Sunbury coach Rick Horwood stressed how his side now needed to reasses where it was at before the season’s most important home-and-away game next week.