All eyes will be on Bacchus Marsh's team sheet as late as Saturday morning as it waits to be seen if superstar ruck Daniel Burton will make his return from a foot injury.
The 2018 Henderson Medallist has not featured in over a month, despite being named in teams on some Thursday nights.
Burton picked up the injury during the Cobras' round 10 win against Sebastopol.
"We're just waiting. He's in a moon boot. We gave him a bit of a breather this week, and we'll see how he holds up for the next couple of weeks," Cobras coach Tom German said at the time.
"We've got another three games, then the bye."
Burton didn't feature in any of the proceeding games - two wins and two losses that have his side seventh, equal on points with North Ballarat above it but needing to win most of its remaining games by a healthy margin to jump into a finals place.
The Cobras' biggest test comes this weekend against Darley, an opponent it beat by one point back in round two.
Burton was immense on that day, finishing with 55 hit outs, 28 disposals (16 contested) and 12 clearances.
While a win would be handy for the Cobras, they still trail the sixth-placed North Ballarat by nearly 26 per cent.
Bacchus Marsh will be hoping Sebastopol can do it a favour and inflict a repeat of round five, where it bet an insipid Roosters outfit, 8.13 (61) to 2.14 (26).
North Ballarat is coming off two losses but coach Brendan McCartney said plenty of confident could still be taken from those performances.
"We're positive. The thing that most people have forgotten about is that we've been in front for nearly all of our last two games and the weekend before that we beat Melton. So, we've played the top three teams in the past three weeks," he said.
In round 14, North Ballarat earned a 37-point first-quarter lead before eventually falling to East Point by 11 points.
Las weekend, the Roosters were resigned to a four-point loss against Ballarat thanks to a final-minute Sam James set shot.
"Last week was a bit of a freak of nature the way it played out. It could've gone either way the last two or three minutes," McCartney said. "There are things from both games that we can learn from and could've done better. But, that's what you have a home and away season for."
Ballarat, Melton South and Redan all have byes in a shortened round 16.
at Maddingley Park, 2:15pm on Saturday
LAST TIME THEY MET: rd 2, 2022 - Bacchus Marsh 12.11 (83) d Darley 12.10 (82)
COBRAS (7th, 7-6): Bacchus Marsh needs a win to keep its finals hopes alive. The Cobras will have to hit the scoreboard hard as well, with their lowly percentage keeping them out of the top six at the moment. Expect captain Jake Owen to spend the day forward, having kicked three in the reverse fixture.
DEVILS (5th, 8-6): Darley earned itself some breathing room with last weekend's upset win against East Point. The Devils have won five of the six games that Dylan Landt has played, and Dan Jordan will again be hoping his old employer, Essendon, will not require Landt at VFL level.
PREDICTION: Bacchus Marsh
at CE Brown Reserve, 2:15pm on Saturday
LAST TIME THEY MET: rd 3 2022 - East Point 15.12 (102) d Lake Wendouree 5.13 (43)
LAKERS (11th, 1-12): The Lakers have absolutely nothing to lose and will enjoy the chance to mess with others' finals hopes. Lake Wendouree's midfield has shown it can match it with the best, but its defence will have a tough day against the dynamic Roos.
ROOS (3rd, 9-5): Question marks linger over midfield pair Jackson Merrett and Joe Dodd, but the Roos still possess the firepower that see them enter heavy favourites against the Lakers. With the bye in round 18, this is East Point's second-to-last game and momentum for finals starts now.
PREDICTION: East Point
at Mars Stadium, 2:15pm on Saturday
ROOSTERS (6th, 7-6): North Ballarat will be keen to bounce back after last weekend's heartbreaking final-minute loss to the Swans. Josh Chatfield was a massive inclusion for the Roosters and will be an important figure again against a red-hot Burra back six.
BURRA (4th, 8-5): Rested after a bye, Sebastopol knows it needs to continue winning to stave off any late drama and enter finals high on confidence. How the Burra will line up in attack is one of the game's biggest mysteries, with Luke Kiel a notable absentee.
PREDICTION: North Ballarat
at MacPherson Park, 2:15pm on Saturday
BLOODS (1st, 12-1): It's a case of getting the job done for Melton, who will all but sew up the minor premiership with a win this weekend. The Bloods hope to welcome back ball magnet Jack Walker, who has missed the past month with a broken jaw.
LIONS (9th, 3-10): Sunbury returned to the winners' list last weekend with Port Melbourne VFL mid Mitch Lewis a standout performer. The Lions are expected to have Lewis' services again with the Borough having a bye. Tyson Lever will be key against the in-form Carter brothers.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.