NEVER before has Sunbury even had to entertain the thought of watching finals from the outside.
In 18 years in the Ballarat Football League, the Lions have played finals football every season and in most cases, have been genuine contenders for the premiership.
Now, they face the ultimate fight to qualify for finals, needing a win to remain any chance of advancing.
But the worst part?
Sunbury’s outcome is ultimately out of its own hands.
There is a possibility they could beat the Lakers, but if either Bacchus Marsh or East Point also win, it is likely the Lions will miss on percentage.
However, Sunbury arguably goes in as most likely to register a win this week out of the three sides competing for the sixth spot.
Bacchus Marsh will need a miracle to stick with a rampaging North Ballarat City, while East Point comes up against fourth-placed Darley, which is admittedly understrength.
The Lions will welcome back some handy players for their most important match for the season, notably captain Andrew Duhau.
Ben Said, Jack Sullivan and Jack Landt are also among the inclusions, with Julien Ata and Josh Styles to miss.
For Lake Wendouree, coach Gavin Webb will miss after copping two knocks to the head last week.
Webb missed a number of matches last year due to concussion and was at times forced to play in a helmet, although he has been free of the headgear this year.
He said he would miss Saturday’s match as a precaution, but was yet to consider if he would play finals.
Ash Simpson has also been lost to the North Ballarat Roosters, selected as the 23rd man, while Hugh Herben is out through injury.
Adam Hickey, Nick Clifton and Lane Buckwell come into the side.
“We’ll sort of treat this one as a final, it’s going to have the sort of intensity,” Webb said.
“We understand Sunbury is going to be coming out and throwing everything at us. For us, winning form is good form so entering the finals on a high is important.”
PREDICTION: Sunbury at home, with more on the line.