FOR the third week in a row, Lockington-Bamawm United will get itself up for a clash with one of the Heathcote District Football League's top sides when it travels to North Bendigo on Saturday.
The Cats have downed Mount Pleasant (63 points), which was third at the time, and the-then top-side Leitchville-Gunbower (19) in their past two games.
Saturday's opponent, North Bendigo, has moved to third on the ladder on the back of three wins in a row.
"Week in, week out they are big games for us at the moment," Cats coach Adrian Dohnt said on Friday.
"North Bendigo is always a lot harder to play on their home ground, but the boys are all really looking forward to the challenge.
"The way the boys have been able to step up over the past couple of weeks with the challenges that have come our way has been fantastic, and this week is another of those sides near the top trying to knock us off and hopefully, we can get over the line again."
Renowned as a skilful running side, the Cats have altered their training this week in preparation for playing on the smaller confines of North Bendigo's Superior Roofing Oval.
"North Bendigo is a different ground to play on and you have to change up the way you go about it," Dohnt said.
"We trained this week a little bit different to try to adapt to the smaller ground, but the boys are well aware of what the North Bendigo ground is like.
"We've had a similar list for the past few years, so they know how to adapt to smaller grounds like North Bendigo and Heathcote."
The Cats have lost some goalkicking power for this game with the suspension of Kahl Oliver, while Lachlan Collins has been called up to make his VFL debut with the Bendigo Gold.
• Meanwhile, in the Loddon Valley Football League, YCW will be striving to turn competitive performances against quality sides into a win against Newbridge at Riverside Park on Saturday.
The Eagles are 1-4, but have been more competitive than that record suggests.
Last week they led undefeated Bridgewater by three points at quarter-time, but lost by 24 points.
In the opening round against Pyramid Hill - also still undefeated - they were only four points down at half-time before losing by 45.
And in round four, they were within 23 points at half-time of the fifth-placed Bears Lagoon-Serpentine in what was a 43-point defeat.
"Our challenge this week after a reasonable effort against a top side (Bridgewater) is to back it up and not only compete well against Newbridge, but get a win," YCW coach Pat Jess said.
"We've set our goals of making finals this year and we now need to start knocking off these teams that are above us to take a spot.
"We can't keep accepting playing well for three quarters and then dropping off."
Newbridge anihilated Inglewood by 193 points last week, with the win spearheaded by a 15-goal haul from recruit Rhys Ford.
Having joined the Maroons from Castlemaine - where he was the Magpies' leading goalkicker last year - Ford has kicked 30 goals in his four games for Newbridge.
"We've been lacking defensively across the whole ground this year," Jess said.
"We've been able to score well, but we've leaked too many goals, so it's going to be a real team effort this week in defence, but we'll apply a lot of pressure through the midfield to stop the supply going in so well.
"Having said that, we've got two quality defenders in Leighton Driscoll and Harley Dunlop and one of those two will get the job on Rhys.
"I've backed both of them one-on-one all year in their battles, but we'll need to help them out with our pressure further up the ground."
While they have only won one of their first five games, Jess remains confident the Eagles can still challenge for the finals.
"I'm expecting our second half of the year to be a lot better," Jess said.