WHAT we are about to witness in Ballarat is a showdown with so much at stake.
Western Bulldogs and rival Adelaide are essentially playing to make AFL finals - something the Bulldogs have not done since their 2016 premiership.
The contest will be fought on the Bulldogs' boutique turf on our Mars Stadium in our city which, while a Bulldogs town now, has played happy host to Crows' supporters on their pilgrimage to the MCG in September.
Plenty of Bulldogs fans are crying this sold-out final round match should be at a bigger venue, like their Docklands kennel.
While there is no sympathy from Ballaratians for whom the prospect of an hours' travel down the Western Freeway is a non-issue, nor the fact this AFL match was scheduled in Ballarat months ago and organised fans should be prepared with tickets, this is a big deal we put on a good show.
It is an understatement to say so much is on the line.
But then comes a poignant reminder from another era for everyone to enjoy the moment.
WATCH the AFL's vision below
Coloured images from the first Australian Rules exhibition match to be played overseas were released this week. A world technology giant partnered with the AFL to remaster content from a match in London on October 23, 1916, in the midst of WWI.
Easton Wood and historian Nick Richardson commentate the footage, saying the colour brings the faces of the men to life in what had been long mis-filed, lost footage.
Wood says the colour brings perspective - with colour, he could picture himself running around out there in ways black-and-white could not.
It's so different to my world. Every game I get to play I know I'm coming home.Western Bulldogs' skipper Easton Wood
"I just can't comprehend playing a game of football and having the possibility you won't be going home," Wood said.
"...It's so different to my world. Every game I get to play I know I'm coming home.
"Football gets compared all the time to war, to battle. My older brother is in the army and I don't think until I experienced him being over in Afghanistan for the first time that I felt those comparisons to war and battle, I just didn't think they were just or appropriate."
This is a recurring theme when commemorating Anzac Day across all leagues, from the AFL to grassroots. Is is a particularly important reminder in finals season and the pressure to keep seasons alive.
Wood says his brother talks about mateship in the army. He remarks about the smiles on the faces of all the men in the footage, facing whatever was ahead together.
This is not to downplay what we are about to host in Ballarat. Far from it. We have got a guaranteed full house for a cracker of a match and this is worth celebrating.
Coincidentally, one of Ballarat football's great success stories continues on Saturday night in Perth. Hawthorn's Isaac Smith will play his 200th AFL game.
READ MORE:The Smith imprint (2013)
Moving to Ballarat in 2008 from rubgy country Cootamundra, Smith quickly progressed from Redan to AFL ranks via North Ballarat Roosters in the Victorian Football League. He is a product of our strong football pathway.
While we no longer have a Victorian Football League team, having AFL matches for premiership points played in our backyard is vital to continued development in our region - not just for aspirations, but keeping AFL eyes on us too.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.