READ MORE - BENDIGO FOOTY CHALLENGE - Week 18 scores
BENDIGO LEAGUE – ROUND 17
MARYBOROUGH v KANGAROO FLAT
2.20pm Saturday at Maryborough.
The Roos have been outscored 44 goals to five in their past two losses to South Bendigo (60 points) and Strathfieldsaye (185), while the Magpies are coming off five defeats in a row.
Maryborough beat the Roos by 30 points earlier in the season and on their home deck this time should hold the upper hand again in what's a clash that looms as the last genuine winning opportunity for both given the Magpies play Strathfieldsaye in the final round and the Roos meet Eaglehawk.
Last time: Maryborough 17.16 (118) def Kangaroo Flat 13.10 (88).
EAGLEHAWK v KYNETON
2.20pm Saturday at Eaglehawk.
If you fancy a nibble, Sportsbet has the Hawks $1.75 flag favourites ahead of Strathfieldsaye ($2.10).
The Hawks continue to build ominously for another finals campaign having now won nine in a row in which they have beaten every side in the competition.
The Hawks have held fellow top-five sides Gisborne, Golden Square and Sandhurst to scores of just 44, 43 and 53 in their past three games - not that the Tigers need any reminding of just how tough the Eaglehawk defence is to penetrate given they could muster just one goal against the Borough back in round eight.
Last time: Eaglehawk 21.14 (140) def Kyneton 1.9 (15).
GOLDEN SQUARE v CASTLEMAINE
2.20pm Saturday at Golden Square.
Opportunity for Square to get a bit of confidence back after losing its past two against Sandhurst (20 points) and Eaglehawk (16).
The Bulldogs have been restricted to scores of just 45 and 43 in those past two losses in which they have managed only 12 goals from 80 inside 50 entries.
The season can't end quickly enough for the winless Magpies, whose 217-point hiding from Strathfieldsaye lifted their average losing margin for the year above 100 points.
Last time: Golden Square 19.22 (136) def Castlemaine 6.3 (39).
SOUTH BENDIGO v STRATHFIELDSAYE
2.20pm Saturday at Harry Trott Oval.
Going back to 1950 - a sample size of nearly 70 years - the highest season-ending percentage in the BFNL has been the undefeated Golden Square's 266.4 in 2011.
Right now Strathfieldsaye's percentage is a monstrous 304.8 on the back of three-consecutive scorelines of 245-28 against Castlemaine, 196-11 against Kangaroo Flat and 192-21 against Kyneton.
An enormous task lays ahead for the Bloods, who copped a 142-point hiding from the Storm in round eight.
The Bloods are playing better footy now... but so too are the rampant Storm.
Last time: Strathfieldsaye 26.16 (172) def South Bendigo 4.6 (30).
SANDHURST v GISBORNE
2.20pm Saturday at QEO.
Plenty riding on this game now given Sandhurst's victory and Gisborne's defeat last week that leaves just one game separating the Bulldogs and Dragons from third to fifth.
Two top-five sides going head-to-head on the QEO a fortnight out from finals certainly whets the appetite for what lays ahead in September.
The Bulldogs in particular will relish the chance to show their wares on the QEO given it's their first and only opportunity to do so in the home and away season.
Last time: Gisborne 14.20 (104) def Sandhurst 12.6 (78)
LODDON VALLEY LEAGUE
MITIAMO v BL-SERPENTINE
QUALIFYING FINAL - 2.15pm Saturday at Marong.
Hopefully, a much more competitive game than their elimination final meeting a year ago when the Superoos crushed the Bears by 79 points.
On this year's form they are 1-1 against each other.
The game features the top two players in the Addy rankings in midfield guns Matthew Gibbs (BL-Serpentine) and Terry Reeves (Mitiamo), while one of the keys to the outcome will be how many of the Superoos' forward quartet of co-coach Tyrone Downie (35 goals), Justin Maddern (34), Ryan Wellington (33) and Dylan Clohesy (26) the Bears can keep in check?
Rd 4 - Mitiamo 13.14 (92) def BL-Serpentine 5.11 (41).
Rd 13 - BL-Serpentine 9.8 (62) def Mitiamo 7.11 (53).
MAIDEN GULLY YCW v CALIVIL UNITED
ELIMINATION FINAL - 2.15pm Sunday at Pyramid Hill.
Plenty of irony in this match-up given Calivil United is only in the finals courtesy of Maiden Gully's points blunder in round 14 and here the Demons now are playing the Eagles in the elimination final.
And if it's anything like their previous two match-ups it will be a ripper given there was less than a kick in both games, with the Eagles winning 77-74 and 52-48 - albeit the second result was later annulled to 48-0 in favour of the Demons.
Calivil United has been granted a massive lifeline as a result of the Maiden Gully YCW points saga and given they are essentially playing with house money, that makes the Demons a dangerous proposition.
Rd 5 - Maiden Gully YCW 10.17 (77) def Calivil United 11.8 (74).
Rd 14 - Calivil United 7.6 (48) def Maiden Gully YCW 0.0 (0) - Eagles' score annulled to 0 for player points breach.
HEATHCOTE DISTRICT LEAGUE – ROUND 18
NORTH BENDIGO v COLBINABBIN
2.15pm Saturday at North Bendigo.
It's 1st v 3rd on the ladder, but essentially a dead rubber given neither team's position can change.
Shame there's nothing significant riding on the outcome, other than a pre-finals tune-up between two sides that may well see each other again in a few weeks with plenty more riding on the outcome.
Last time: North Bendigo 8.12 (60) def Colbinabbin 6.11 (47).
WHITE HILLS v LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER
2.15pm Saturday at White Hills.
Doesn't get much better than this in home and away footy - essentially a do-or-die clash for the last spot in the finals.
The Bombers start the last round one game and 0.63 per cent ahead of the sixth-placed Demons.
It's likely that a win by more than a goal would be enough for the Demons to jump over the top of the Bombers into the five; under a goal though and there will be plenty of number crunching going on post-game.
Yet, there's also still the prospect that the Demons and Bombers could both figure in the finals if White Hills wins and fifth-placed Mount Pleasant suffers a massive upset at the hands of Huntly.
The Mount Pleasant scenario should be taken out of the equation, leaving the stage set for an absolute belter at Scott Street where every score kicked - goal or behind - may well prove season-defining.
Last time: Leitchville-Gunbower 14.6 (90) def White Hills 12.8 (80).
MOUNT PLEASANT v HUNTLY
2.15pm Saturday at Toolleen.
Simple scenario for Mount Pleasant - win the game and the Blues' return to the finals for the first time since 2014 is assured.
Lose, though, and they become reliant on White Hills also being beaten by Leitchville-Gunbower to retain their spot in the five.
On their home ground against the bottom side, you'd expect the Blues to comfortably take care of their business.
Last time: Mount Pleasant 23.6 (144) def Huntly 8.8 (56).
ELMORE v HEATHCOTE
4.15pm Saturday at Elmore.
Twilight game under Elmore's new lights. Last game of the season for both the Bloods and Saints and a chance to finish on a high.
The Bloods at home after some solid performances of late look hard to beat.
Last time: Elmore 21.20 (146) def Heathcote 7.10 (52).
Luke West (69) - Maryborough, Eaglehawk, Golden Square, Strathfieldsaye, Gisborne.
Adam Bourke (68) - Maryborough, Eaglehawk, Golden Square, Strathfieldsaye, Gisborne.
Richard Jones (68) - Maryborough, Eaglehawk, Golden Square, Strathfieldsaye, Sandhurst.
Kieran Iles (63) - Maryborough, Eaglehawk, Golden Square, Strathfieldsaye, Sandhurst.
Anthony Pinda (62) - Maryborough, Eaglehawk, Golden Square, Strathfieldsaye, Gisborne.
Adam Bourke (54) - North Bendigo, White Hills, Mount Pleasant, Elmore.
Anthony Pinda (51) - North Bendigo, White Hills, Mount Pleasant, Elmore.
Kieran Iles (51) - North Bendigo, Leitchville-Gunbower, Mount Pleasant, Heathcote.
Luke West (49) - North Bendigo, White Hills, Mount Pleasant, Elmore.
Luke West (60) - Mitiamo, Maiden Gully YCW.
Adam Bourke (57) - Mitiamo, Maiden Gully YCW.
Kieran Iles (55) - BL-Serpentine, Maiden Gully YCW.
Anthony Pinda (53) - Mitiamo, Maiden Gully YCW.
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.