WITH two rounds to play before the Gippsland League football finals, four teams are still in the running to claim the minor premiership.
As well as taking a week off to begin the finals, the incentive for finishing the home-andaway season on top of the ladder has become greater, with the minor premier to also host the second semi-final.
The top three sides, Maffra, Sale and Moe, are locked together on 12 wins, with the Eagles in first place thanks to a percentage 20 points better than the Magpies and Lions.
These teams are best-placed to receive the double chance during the finals, but reigning premier Leongatha is in fourth place, a win outside the top three.
If the Parrots can defeat Moe on Saturday, they will move into at least third spot and have the chance to finish the season on top.
MAFFRA will host Drouin tomorrow, eager to bounce back after a 20-point loss at Moe and retain top spot.
The Lions played better in the muddy conditions, registering 17 scoring shots (including five goals) to the Eagles' seven (three goals).
The Eagles will be welcoming the improved weather forecast for Saturday.
The Eagles will also be looking to avenge their 38-point loss to Drouin in round eight.
Injuries have conspired to hamper the Hawks' progress, winning just two matches since that day. Victory over Morwell at the weekend confirmed their participation in the finals, much to the relief of the Hawks.
With a top five berth secured, the Hawks can focus on preparing for the finals, knowing they can't move from fifth spot.
SALE will take the long journey to Wonthaggi.
The Magpies will not underestimate the ninth-placed Power, which has been in good form - winning its past two matches, at home against Traralgon and at Bairnsdale.
A 13-point home loss to Leongatha eased the Magpies' grip on a top three spot, but a win will keep their bid for the minor premiership alive.
There are questions over the availability of key midfielder Kane Martin, who was taken from the ground late in last weekend's game after being knocked out in a tackle.
In round eight at Sale, the Magpies defeated the Power by 66 points.
MOE can potentially end Leongatha's top three hopes when it heads to south Gippsland.
Beginning with victory over Leongatha at home in round eight, the Lions have won eight of their past nine matches, while the Parrots are on a six-game winning run.
TWO matches will have no consequences on the finals, with Morwell hosting Traralgon, and Bairnsdale playing at Warragul.
With all four teams out of finals contention, only pride will be on the line.
With all five teams in the bottom half of the ladder on five wins this season, matches like these two will be vital in determining who will claim the dreaded wooden spoon.