It is round 10 in the Central Highlands Football League and there is no shortage of big games - and none bigger than Skipton at home to Gordon.
Skipton is about to get a major guide as to what it's premiership prospects are in the Central Highlands Football League this season.
The Emus have earned a big tick so far to be sitting third.
However, their biggest moments are still to come.
And they begin at Skipton on Saturday, when they face an undefeated Gordon.
The Emus have had a few glitches and were lucky to get away with a win against Buninyong last round.
They believe they are capable of much better and now is the time to show it.
Skipton joint coach Sam Willian said it was time for the Emus to stand up.
He said they had been challenged quite a bit over the past few seasons since he and Andrew Pitson had been at the helm.
"I reckon we've only passed one, when we beat Rokewood-Corindhap last year.
"We've failed this season against Dunnstown after last year failing to measure up against Gordon, Hepburn and Springbank.
"This is one everyone's keen to attack.
"We need to face it head on and show everyone that we can be a real threat this year.
"I believe we have the list. We just need to put it out there," Willian said.
"I'm backing the lads to get up for a big game and show them what we're made of."
Sadly, Skipton will be without its leading goalkicker Jethro Kirby.
His season is over after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament against Buninyong.
GORDON just keeps marching on.
The Eagles have had to deal with their share of injuries, but they have hardly missed a beat and their stocks are now building.
Gordon joint coach Adam Toohey said the Eagles expected a quick brand of football.
Gordon has Brad Horsham (soreness) and Zac Ryan (hamstring) out.
BUNGAREE and Learmonth also have a lot at stake in their battle at Bungaree.
The Demons will not move from seventh no matter what the result, but for their finals aspirations a win is imperative.
Get the points and more than likely Bungaree will be two games clear in the top eight.
This would certainly be the margin back to the Lakies.
Lose though and as well as Learmonth drawing level, there's every chance Ryan Waight's men will also have Waubra breathing down their necks.
Learmonth has worked hard to get into the top eight and if it wants to stay there it needs to keep winning.
Right now Waubra is the biggest threat outside the top eight and the Roos have Bungaree and Learmonth potentially in their sights.
Bungaree coach Ryan Waight said it was up to the Demons to now take the opportunities that went their way.
"We've been playing some pretty good football over the past five or six weeks, reasonably hard to score against and pretty stable personnel-wise.
"We're well suited to wet conditions.
"We just have to find a better way to goal," he said.
The Demons have just the one forced chance, with Noah Browning out injured and Jackson Murphy back to play his 200th senior game for the club.
"It's a great effort for anyone to play 200 senior games, let alone at the one club. It's exciting for him and the club, especially at home," Waight said.
LEARMONTH goes into the game without captain Jason Rae, who broke an arm for the second time this season in his first game back.
Lakies coach Nick Willox said the Lakies would need to kick straighter for goal this week and also apply greater pressure around the ground.
"The pressure was there (in the win over Beaufort), but we were just a bit lazy in certain patches.
"If we can bring the pressure and kick straight, we'll be in it for a long period."
The Crows are playing to stay on the heels of the top eight.
Get beaten here and they will be overtaken by Waubra on percentage and slip further down the ladder.
Beaufort is in for a tough time, but it showed plenty of grit in a loss to Learmonth.
The Crows are already showing the benefits of young talent coming through. That is going to take time to develop, but there is never a backward step.
Beaufort has regained Jim Vanderkley and Josh McDermott - adding some needed physical strength and experience.
Damien Day (ankle) is sidelined, while Jayden Orr and Cooper Smith are unavailable.
THE ROOS are coming off a defeat, but form-wise it could hardly have done much more.
Waubra's season is building, but it needs to ensure it gets a win here.
The Roos are one game outside the top eight and even with a win they could easily stay there - depending on the outcome of the Bungaree and Learmonth clash.
Lose and that gap would open up.
Waubra has lost ruckman Geordie Lukich (ankle), but has a readymade replacement in Ethan Kennedy. Isaac Allan returns.
An extended break has certainly worked in Hepburn's favour.
The Burras were the walking wounded after their loss to Gordon, but what will be three weeks since they last played has given them a chance to recover.
Of the four players sidelined that day, only coach Mitch Banner (knee) will miss playing against Clunes.
He suffered a torn meniscus, and partially torn and strained lateral collateral ligament.
Despite the multiple injuries, Banner is hopeful that he will be back next round or at the worst in two rounds.
Hepburn faces Skipton and Rokewood-Corindhap in those two games - fixtures will have a big say in determining the top four.
While Banner misses, Andy McKay (concussion), Brock Noble (shoulder) and Ned Johns (groin) have each recovered.
Mitch McKay is returning for the Burras along with key forward Jackson Hogan in a game in which they are expected to return to winning form.
CLUNES faces another tough battle after a heavy loss to Gordon.
The Magpies will be happy to get back home, where the possibility of a heavy track might close the gap.
Key forward John Fazio (hamstring) has been named to return.
Clunes will get another break after this match with a bye.
Daylesford has a big chance to go back-to-back.
While mathematically this will keep them well in touch of the top eight, making it across the bridge to play finals is a long shot.
As coach Hamish Jarrad has stated, all the Bulldogs can do is win as many games as possible and continue their push up the ladder as part of a long-term plan.
Their draw is not too bad.
Daylesford goes from here to play Ballan, so three wins on end is a strong possibility.
Then after a bye it has a run including Newlyn and Buninyong, which right now are below the Bulldogs.
They definitely have a chance to finish on high.
First, Jarrad says they need to ensure they are at their best against Creswick.
Jarrad (hamstring) looked set to miss this week, but has been named and former Tatyoon player Bradd Wilson, who played his first game in six years against Carngham-Linton, is unavailable.
Shaun Clark is back.
THE WICKERS were stung by their loss to Ballan.
Things did not go their way late, but they had had the opportunity to build a lead which would have put them out of the reach of the Blues.
That is where their focus needs to be in trying to make amends against Daylesford.
Carngham-Linton has its first home game at Snake Valley for the season.
Saints coach Clayton Scoble said the move was timely, with the Linton ground starting to show signs of wear and tear.
Still without a win, Carngham-Linton faces a tough road home after having its best chances of opening its account over the past month.
Youngsters Tyson Scoble and Ted O'Brien return to Redan under-17s after two appearances for the Saints, but Harry Peoples returns.
DUNNSTOWN'S main focus now is consolidating a spot in the top four for a double chance in the finals.
There might even be a chance for the Towners to spring into third spot in coming weeks with Skipton facing some big assignments.
This game signals the return to senior ranks of Kayle Mullane.
This is his first year back at the club, where he first played seniors in 2009, since 2018 and has earned promotion after just three games.
Jack Powell is also back in the side with Nathan Duggan, while Kain Dickson is being rested.
This is another must-win for Rokewood-Corindhap.
Right now they sit safely in the top eight, waiting around the corner are clashes with Gordon, Hepburn, Skipton and Springbank.
So it is crucial to get wins on the board now.
Number ruckman Ed Denouden and defender Rupert Armstrong return, but Leigh Ryall is unavailable after his one game back.
TIME is running out for Buninyong.
The Bombers still have plenty of winnable games ahead, but if they are to make an unlikely charge at the top eight they have to start now.
Buninyong almost pulled one out of the bag against Skipton and could argue it probably should have won.
It showed more than enough to suggest it can give the Grasshoppers more than a run for their money.
There's plenty of incentive.
Buninyong just needs to get its act together and go that little extra than it has shown against the likes of Hepburn and Skipton - matches which slipped through their fingers.
Springbank will be bolstered in a big way for what is being billed as the "Springbank v Newlyn Stop Ausnet Towers" match as the two clubs' communities stand together against globally owned energy company AusNet and the controversial Western Victoria Transmission Network Project.
The Tigers were given a major scare by Waubra in a game in which they were missing some key personnel.
There's still no Todd Finco, but Connor Parkin and James Thompson, who were among those missing,l return.
Tigers coach Andrew Challis said their absences, along with Zak Bozanich, had impacted significantly in attack - limiting their avenues to goals.
Although Stephen Staunton delivered with 10 goals, Challis said the inclusions would provide many more options.
Bozanich continues to be managed, with Springbank's focu on having him full fit for the business end of the season.
NEWLYN just has to keep digging deep in the hope of turning things around.
The Cats showed some promise against Rokewood-Corindhap, but an inability to finish off as they would like was costly.
This is not going to be a great day to work on that.
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