READ MORE - Weekend football teams
WITH three wins in a row under its belt, Maiden Gully YCW is ready to step up to what is proving to be the Loddon Valley league's biggest test this year - Pyramid Hill.
The Eagles, along with Mitiamo, were widely tipped pre-season to be the competition's two pace-setters this year, but it's Pyramid Hill that has established itself as the early team to beat.
The Bulldogs have been ultra-impressive, winning their first five games by an average of 71 points as they seek to end one of country Victoria's longest premiership droughts that stretches back to 1950.
Only Marong (lost by 23) has got within 50 points of the Bulldogs so far.
The Eagles make the trek to Pyramid Hill on Saturday having overcome a 0-2 start to win their past three games - two of which were by less than a kick against Marong (1) and Calivil United (3).
"In patches we've played some good football and had periods where we've been able to dominate, but we haven't been as consistent as I would have liked," Eagles coach Wayne Mitrovic said on Friday.
"It's obviously going to be a big challenge going up to Pyramid Hill... they are the undefeated side and unlike last year when they won a lot of close games early, they are winning really comfortably.
"They haven't really been threatened at any stage yet, so that shows how well they are going."
READ MORE - Weekend footy preview, selections
While they finished top three last year before being knocked out in straight sets, one of the biggest improvements the Bulldogs have made this season is their capacity to score.
The Bulldogs have kicked scores of 123, 119, 168 and 100 among their first five games.
Last year they kicked a score above 100 just once.
"They seem to be quite small with their forward structure. Adrian McErvale (coach) has been playing centre half-forward, Braidy Dickens is a mid-size and Bailey George is a little whippet and they are obviously gelling together really well," Mitrovic said.
"We're really looking forward to going up there and testing ourselves against the top side."
Mitrovic expects the Eagles - who beat the Bulldogs in all three meetings last year - to be missing Dylan Pierce for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.
As well as the clash between Pyramid Hill and Maiden Gully YCW, Saturday's round seven also features a battle of two of the Loddon Valley's fiercest rivals in Newbridge and Bridgewater.
The Maroons are 2-3, in sixth position and will be desperate to spark their premiership defence, while the young Mean Machine have impressed so far, winning four of their first six games in what was touted pre-season as a development year focused on youth.
* Saturday's games - Newbridge v Bridgewater, Marong v BL-Serpentine, Pyramid Hill v Maiden Gully YCW, Inglewood v Mitiamo. Calivil United bye.
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