READ MORE - Weekend football teams
BENDIGO LEAGUE - ROUND 8
2.20pm today at Kangaroo Flat.
Both the Roos and Magpies head into this clash off their second victories of the season and the opportunity to go back-to-back - a feat Maryborough hasn't achieved since 2014.
While the Magpies look to be headed back in the right direction, one of their next challenges is to start winning away from home: they are 1-39 from their past 40 games away from Princes Park ahead of this road trip to take on a similarly-matched opponent.
2.20pm today at Castlemaine.
What can the Magpies offer up on their home ground coming off a dismal 222-point hiding from Strathfieldsaye last week?
There was plenty of optimism at the start of the season at the Magpies off the back of the Angus Monfries signing to go with a host of other recruits, but it's already hard to see where they can pinch a win from.
Another tough gig awaits against Golden Square that will want to sharpen up in front of goal given it has kicked 19.32 in its past two games, with its inaccuracy last week costing it dearly against Sandhurst.
2.20pm today at Gisborne.
The Dragons will need to re-produce every bit of the grit and determination that got them over the line against Golden Square by one point last week if they are to emerge from 'The Graveyard' with the four points.
The scoring potency of the Bulldogs was once again on display last week when, even with their inaccuracy, they kicked a tally of 125 against Eaglehawk.
Like both teams experienced last week, this is another of those "eight point" games that will be double chance defining.
2.20pm today at Kyneton.
Consecutive losses for the Hawks, who will be looking to the trip to Kyneton to regain some mojo.
Despite the contrasting expectations on both sides this year - the Hawks were again tipped to challenge for the flag; the Tigers to slip significantly - there is only one game difference between the two.
You'd expect the Hawks to bounce back, but the Tigers are proving that the trip down to the Showgrounds still poses a challenge.
2.20pm today at Strathfieldsaye.
Six losses in a row for the Bloods and now the BFNL's ultimate litmus test - Strathfieldsaye at Tannery Lane.
The Storm have produced a devastating first seven games as their monster percentage of 272.3 will attest, with the calibre of talent at the club highlighted by Lachlan Wallace, Lachlan Gill, Bailey Henderson and Hunter Lawrence all in the Victoria Country under-19 squad playing against the Amateurs on Saturday.
LODDON VALLEY - ROUND 9
2.15pm today at Newbridge.
Last year's premier team, the Maroons, who are outside the top five, host the team that is carrying the tag as this year's flag favourites, the Bulldogs.
The 7-0 Bulldogs continue to answer every challenge thrown at them, with their array of forward options highlighted by the quartet of Bailey George, Braidy Dickens, Billy Micevski and Jack Woodward all having hit the scoreboard in every game so far.
2.15pm today at Mitiamo.
The season started promising for the Panthers, but just one win in their past five games has resulted in Marong gradually slipping from second down to seventh on the ladder.
Tough ask to stop their slide with an away match against the in-form Mitiamo that is riding a five-game winning streak and has gun midfielders Terry Reeves and Dougie Thomas starring in the engine room.
2.15pm today at Maiden Gully.
Shapes as a ripper of a match - both teams are 4-3, separated by just seven per cent and starting to get rolling after sluggish starts to the season.
Given the way Pyramid Hill and Mitiamo are tracking, it most likely leaves just one spot available in the top three, making this a clash of vital importance - albeit in June - between two of the teams eyeing it off.
The Eagles' Brayden Aitken can expect some extra defensive attention from the Bears given his 10-goal haul against Inglewood last week.
2.15pm today at Raywood.
The two bottom teams that between them have won just one game for the season.
It's particularly foreign territory for Calivil United to be in such a position of 1-6 - the last time the Demons went into round nine with just one win on the board was in 1995.
Highlighting just how long ago that was, Carlton was the best side in the AFL.
HEATHCOTE DISTRICT - ROUND 8
2.15pm today at Elmore.
The Cats have dropped back-to-back games to Mount Pleasant and North Bendigo - poor third quarters a common denominator in both - but should get back on the winner's list this week in what is Nathan O'Brien's 150thgame.
The Bloods have gone off the boil; their 2-1 start has since been followed by three losses in a row totaling 272 points, with the side desperately needing to regain some of its early-season spark.
2.15pm today at North Bendigo.
Top versus bottom in this match-up as the Bulldogs look to extend their winning streak at home to 32 on the trot against an opponent they have beaten 11 consecutive times.
The Saints under new coach Wayne Primmer have been persistent this season without being able to break through for a win yet and now confront the team that is ranked No.1 for both attack and defence.
2.15pm today at White Hills.
Should be a third win of the season for the Demons against the Hawks, whose drop-off from the team that finished top three last year has been significant.
The Hawks have copped three losses by more than 100 points in their six games ahead of a tussle with the Demons, who have felt the fine line of footy with two of their past three games losses by less than a kick.
2.15pm today at Toolleen.
Great to see these traditional Heathcote District clubs again involved in a big game against each other - arguably the most significant since their last finals meeting back in 2007 given how they are both tracking.
Both clubs are well and truly in the premiership conversation, each laying a solid foundation at 5-1.
A strong showing from Colbinabbin was expected this year, while the Blues' improvement is on the fast track as shown by their victories already against North Bendigo and LBU.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.