RIVAL Heathcote District league coaches Lauren Bowles and Georgia Rodger are again counting on their sides to bring out the best in each other at Colbinabbin on Saturday.
The Grasshoppers host White Hills in a rematch of last season's epic grand final, with outright top spot up for grabs.
The fierce, but friendly rivals have shared the last four premierships between them (three straight to Colbinabbin in 2015-17 and White Hills in 2018), and have engaged in a series of intriguing duels throughout those years, most notably in last year's two-goal grand final thriller.
Expect more of the same on Saturday.
After a barnstorming 5-0 start to their premiership defence in which they have outscored their opposition by 272 goals, Demons coach Lauren Bowles declared her side ready for their top-two encounter.
"We have been getting some really great results on the board and some big wins, but we are really up for this challenge," she said.
"We know we are in for a tough one, but that's what we play for. We love those tough battles.
"Colbo has just as much depth as we do, we don't how they will line up, but they won't know how we are going to line up.
"A bit like early last year, we will be playing some different combinations."
Bowles, who led the Demons to their first premiership since 2010 last season, said there was no doubt her side had taken a huge step up in 2019.
It's statement backed by facts, with the Demons scoring a league-high 392 goals at an average of 78.4 per game, and easily conceding the fewest (120).
Bowles praised the goaling combination of Ash Gilmore, who shot 60 goals in a 73-goal win over Heathcote, and last season's grand final best on court Rhian Moresi, as pivotal to their success.
"When you have tall goaler like Ash, she's a nice person to aim for that's for sure," she said.
"Together her and Rhi are shooting well over 80 per cent of their goals this season, which is what we ask of our golaers.
"Ash was only new to the game last year, but she has really found her feet."
It's been a slow build this season for Colbinabbin, which produced arguably its best netball for the season in a 37-goal win over a tough Leitchville-Gunbower last weekend, and has tinkered with its line-up on a weekly basis due to injuries and personal commitments.
The Grasshoppers regained gun midcourter Olivia McEvoy last week and she was immediately in strong touch.
"She was phenomenal. She had about a month or so out injured, with the byes we have had, but was back to 100 per cent fitness and just brilliant," Rodger said.
"Some of the balls she took were just phenomenal; she was back in full flight which is obviously a huge addition to the side.
"And for us to shoot 70 goals against the side that was third on the ladder was a pretty handy day for us."
Rodger hoped the big occasion and a ferocious rival would again bring out the best in her experienced players.
"I think we always play better against better opposition, so it will be good to get out on the park and see just where we are at," she said.
"They have had a ripper start to the year, some of their goaling stats have been out of this world.
"We haven't actually fielded the same seven girls for two weeks running, with injuries and different things, so it's been difficult to get a full squad out on the court together.
"Hopefully (this) weekend will be a good reality check for us, be it a good result for us, or a bad result that we can build on."
In other games, North Bendigo (1-3-1) will look to bounce back onto the winner's list against Lockington-Bamawm United (1-5), Huntly (2-3) can move back into the five with a win against Leitchville-Gunbower (3-3), while Mount Pleasant (3-1-1) can shore up third position when it clashes with Heathcote (0-5).
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