With only three rounds left before finals the stakes are now high in the 2022 Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League season.
The big question across the next few weeks of football is who will join South Gambier and Millicent in the final four come the end of August.
West Gambier, North Gambier and Casterton Sandford are the protagonists and the one stuck in the middle has the arguably the biggest case to make.
The Tigers’ highs and lows have been spectacular with frontrunners the Demons stating they have received the biggest challenge by the yellow and black.
But consistency has not been North’s friend with the side having won just one of its last six games.
Despite being able to threaten the top sides, the Tigers have been unable to land the big blows when needed late in games and a turnaround needs to happen soon.
A win over a Saints team in premiership contention will be the perfect statement.
Millicent hopes to see a full-strength side including some big guns such as Clint Gallio and Tom Hutchesson return and get some game time ahead of finals.
But the Saints know their depth can be enough to get the job done having easily overcome the Tigers last time by registering 25 scoring shots.
Millicent is the favourite at home, but North is in desperate need of a win and will look to send a message.
West Gambier v East Gambier
After unfortunate circumstances forced West Gambier’s tough round 13 battle with Millicent to be cancelled, the Roos now sit in the box seat for the finals race and they have a great chance to strengthen their case against the struggling East Gambier.
After the game latest less than two minutes and was eventually cancelled, the Roos enjoyed an equal sharing of the premiership points with the Saints which was not the result people expected if the game ran its full course.
Now West enjoys an extra two points on its archrivals North and Casterton Sandford, which could prove critical later on, but only if the former performs.
But the most important consequence from the fixture was the horrific leg injury suffered by Nathan Taylor, who is now out of action having played a big part in the Roos’ recent rise.
With West being the only side the Bulldogs have overcome in 2022, they may have circled this fixture as the most likely chance of signing the team song again.
East was also in the game in the previous clash being just one kick away at the final change before West took control.
Casterton Sandford v South Gambier
Before the bye South Gambier was the Rolls Royce of the competition, purring along like Rolls Royce and building a better premiership case week by week.
The Demons have been flying and recorded some huge wins leading up to the bye and their rivals hope a week off has taken some wind out of their sails.
With a low percentage, the Cats must stop South from going big and exceeding triple figures like the previous clash at Island Park.
The Victorians currently sit outside the top four, level on points with North, but well down on percentage, so cannot afford to endure another heavy defeat after being beaten up by Millicent in the previous home game.