Foster v Newborough
The intrigue around just how the top half of the MGFNL looks as the season unfolds remains as we enter round four, but it is matches like this one between Foster and Newborough that is sure to impact the shape.
The reality is there are as many as nine teams, maybe even ten that could mount a case as a top five team and therefore potential finalists.
The pressure is on Foster, with the Tigers yet to taste victory in their opening rounds, but its a pressure that is yet to be felt by the coach Sam Davies " We are far from worried and we look forward to the challenge again this week"
That challenge is a Newborough side, coming off a loss to Hill End and ready to quickly get the type of footy required to win big matches.
The Bulldogs seemingly had the Rovers at their mercy last week before the home team reeled off five unanswered goals.
Newborough coach, Craig Skinner "that's what good sides do and Foster this week will be an important game for both teams, we are expecting a tough contest against another successful club"
The Tigers will need access to many of their first choice players to take it up to the Bulldogs, equally they will be hopeful of a very strong home ground crowd, all of which will make this one a good one to be at.
Mirboo North v MDU
It's not often you tout a match as finals like in just the fourth round of the year, but make no mistake this one is like a final given another loss for the home side, would make it a horrible zero and four start to the year for Mirboo North and pre season hopes of a run at the finals would be, or at least could be all but dashed.
Josh Taylor, Mirboo North coach "it's a must win game against MDU or our season is off to a disastrous start"
The Demons, coming off an impressive fifty point win over Fish Creek, will be coming into the clash with their confidence justifiably sky high, given they also kept the Kangaroos goalless for the entire afternoon.
Peter Harris, MDU coach "it's a massive game for us, against a quality side who have had some tough opposition to start their year, another big four quarter effort is needed to give us any chance"
That's the thing too, not only do sides need to be on their game each week, they need to be on their game for the four full quarters, anything less against quality opposition can easily turn success into failure and we've already seen that on several occasions this year.
Morwell East v Fish Creek
A really tough game to gauge this one as both teams have dished up vastly contrasting performances in their opening rounds.
Fish Creek followed a gutsy and impressive come from behind victory in round one, with a comfortable win over Toora in round two only to be held goalless last week against MDU.
Morwell East couldn't have been more disappointing in their first clash of the year when they were badly beaten by Yinnar, only to bounce back last week with a respectable win over Thorpdale.
Devon Soutar, Morwell East Coach "we needed to respond quickly after our first week and thankfully we did....consistency is what we are chasing"
The Kangaroos feel as though they have learnt from their most recent loss and are under no illusions as to how tough this week will be.
John Danckert, Fish Creek Coack "We have three big weeks ahead of us, a massive challenge now taking on Morwell East away from home again."
The next month is sure to determine a lot of teams' seasons, but you can only deal with the opposition as they arise and for this week Fish Creek have the opportunity to put the Tigers under more pressure than they've seen for a few years.
Thorpdale v Boolarra
The scoreline for the Blues last week probably didn't do justice to the effort of the Thorpdale team, with many of its squad affected by flu during the weak it was probably no real surprise that its efforts of the first quarter when they were very much in touch couldn't be carried much deeper into the game.
This weekend though, I wouldn't be expecting Boolarra to be giving the home side much mercy either, the Demons keen to back up their respectable draw a fortnight ago against Hill End with an even better performance this week.
Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach "after the bye, we are expecting another good game in Thorpy who have improved as well"
That improvement will be tested by Boolarra who would see this as a very winnable game, in fact I'm sure they would see it a must win game, if they are to be taken seriously as a contender.
Thorpdale at home can be backed in, to give an honest and aggressive performance, but to be having any chance to secure premiership points they must also have their players of class to be doing their thing.
Boolarra are good but the expectation is that they will only get better if two things happen, one is no real surprise, they must have some luck and manage to avoid injuries to key players with the second being the inclusion of some quality players in the weeks ahead.
If their plan comes together some big things could be in store after too many years in the cold.
Toora v Hill End
The last thing most clubs would want to be facing after a testing month of football, is one of the top sides in the competition, even it is to be on your home ground, but that's exactly what Toora must be ready for on the weekend, a powerful Hill End Side, slowly starting to put all the pieces together that is again likely to make them the benchmark in the competition.
Mind you the Rovers are not quite there yet and might not be for another month or two, but they should be where they need to be to get the four points this weekend.
Matt Ponton, Toora coach " we showed a never give up attitude last week, the fight we showed in each other all day was pleasing and something to build on for the rest of the year"
The Power will see first hand some of the elements of a really good side, and although their chances of success are minimal, if each of the players can walk away knowing they've given their best and that they have also learnt a little on the way, it will have them better prepared for success not to far down the road.
The Rovers believe their window is still open for another surge at a premiership, something that covid has made difficult, in fact impossible.
Chances don't often come and coach Mike Santo knows more than most that they don't last forever.
Yinnar v Stony Creek
After a sluggish start to the year, Yinnar have bounced back in quite spectacular fashion, with convincing wins over Morwell East in round two followed by an even better performance against Mirboo North last week.
The Magpies in the matter of a fortnight have regained their mojo and appear to be capable of taking on almost any team in the competition.
Daniel Taylor, Yinnar coach "Stony Creek this week is another challenge, they look like they've improved a lot and their results have been impressive, we'll be setting ourselves for a big game, It's a tight, tough competition so we want to be at our best every single week.
That is the constant message from all coaches, that unless you're ready to go, you can quickly be left behind as Stony Creek Jai Acardi realises " Yinnar this week on their home deck will be a massive challenge and one we are looking forward to"
The Lions have two wins from their three matches to date, but it's this one against Yinnar that is the toughest of the first month.
A win will have them in an outstanding position as we approach the quarter mark of the season, a loss will mean some more work to be done.