CALIVIL United and Bridgewater face the prospect of going from last season’s grand finalists to missing finals unless they can win in Saturday’s 17th round of the Loddon Valley Football Netball League season.
The Demons are sixth and the Bridgewater is seventh ahead of huge games for both on home turf in the second-last round of the home and away series.
Calivil United takes on the ladder-leading Newbridge at Calivil.
A one-point loss at Pyramid Hill last round put the Demons out of the top five.
The reigning premiers need to bring the heat from the first contest against the Maroons.
When these clubs last met in round eight, Newbridge won by 15 points.
Calivil United’s defence faces a huge task opposed to Jordan Gilboy, the competition’s leading goalkicker on 62, and Sam Mildren.
The Demons attack is led by Daniel Reid, 25 goals in seven matches, and Vincent Rodi on 24.
A Calivil United victory and a Bears Lagoon Serpentine in this Saturday’s play sets up an enthralling last round contest between the Demons and Bears at Serpentine.
Must-win is the message for Bridgewater as it hosts the Bears this round.
The Mean Machine is on the rebound from a 38-point loss to Newbridge, while the Bears won their latest hit-out with Inglewood.
An 84-point victory by the Bears against Bridgewater in round eight was one of the club’s best wins of the season.
The Bears have Cody Gunn, 43 goals; James Rippingale, 26; and Andrew Gladman, 25, as main targets in attack.
Bridgewater will look for big games from Darren Clutton, 43 goals, and Josh Metherell, 22, in its forward line.
A qualifying final preview could be played at Marist Oval as Maiden Gully YCW Eagles takes on Pyramid Hill.
It’s second against third in the Eagles nest.
The previous showdown ended in a 45-point win for Maiden Gully YCW at Pyramid Hill.
Both teams have plenty of pace and skill through midfield.
In his first season as coach, Wayne Mitrovic has kicked 25 goals in just eight games for the Eagles.
Cohen Kekich, 31; and Luke Gray, 30, have led the way for Maiden Gully YCW.
Pyramid Hill’s leading goalkickers are Nathan Fitzpatrick on 31, and Mitchell Cheesman on 29.
It’s one week at a time, but the Gully’s run to the finals includes a round 18 duel with Newbridge.
Inglewood and Marong will be confident of a breakthrough victory on the Blues turf.
Their last meeting ended in 19-point victory for the Panthers.
It’s been a tough season for both clubs, but they have shown promising signs at times.
Mitiamo has the bye.
Loddon Valley FNL senior footy ladder:
Newbridge 48 points, 149 per cent; Maiden Gully YCW 44, 134; Pyramid Hill 40, 101; Mitiamo 32, 114; Bears Lagoon Serpentine 28, 126; Calivil United 28, 122; Bridgewater 24, 108; Marong 8, 60; Inglewood 4, 45.