North Bendigo will face its toughest challenge of the season when hosting Elmore this weekend for the round eight Heathcote District Football Netball League.
Third-placed Bulldogs head into the match against the top of the ladder Bloods after a narrow win over the Blues back in round seven before the league shutdown due to COVID-19 restrictions.
When the Bulldogs hit the court for their home game on Saturday there will be two challenges to overcome, the might of the undefeated Bloods as well as having no supporters on the sidelines.
"We've had a couple weeks off and now we're back in the swing and preparing for what will be a slightly different atmosphere this weekend," North Bendigo playing-coach Lara Daly said.
"Crowds make a huge difference as during some of our close games this season it's been all of our support on the sidelines which has pushed us to perform at our best.
"We've been planning for this match against Elmore for the past few weeks. We're ready to go.
"We play at our strongest on our home court which is a major boost for our first game against Elmore."
Bloods 7-0 head into the game undefeated after their most recent match where they defeated reigning premiers White Hills for the second time this season.
Bulldogs' most recent victory saw them jump ahead of the Blues by three goals.
"We knew it was going to be a real test against Mount Pleasant and we will continue with that same momentum against Elmore this weekend," Daly said.
"We know the Bloods are a very strong team, especially with Gabe Richards as shooter, so we will be looking to reduce her ball-time as much as possible."
"We've been working through strategies and combinations to allow us to implement our attack plan the best we can.
"Come Saturday we will see how we match-up in what could be a very competitive game."
Meanwhile in the other matches, Heathcote will look to climb up the ladder when hosting Mount Pleasant this weekend.
Blues head into the match with a 2-3-1 record and sit sixth on the ladder, just above the Saints 2-4.
Reigning premier White Hills will be eager to return to its winning ways at Scott Street against Lockington-Bamawm United.
Demons 3-3-1 are fourth on the ladder after their recent loss to the Bloods, while the Cats 0-6 remain without a win this season.
Leitchville Gunbower will have a tough home match against Huntly after scoring their first win in the last round over LBU.
Bombers 1-6 are eighth on the ladder while the Hawks 3-3 sit within the top five.
Colbinabbin has the bye.
Record: 7-0, 202.7%
Record: 6-1, 160.8%
3. NORTH BENDIGO
Record: 4-2, 98.6%
4. WHITE HILLS
Record: 3-3-1, 97.3%
Record: 3-3, 105.2%
6. MOUNT PLEASANT
Record: 2-3-1, 97.4%
Record: 2-4, 76.2%
Record: 1-6- 48.7%
Record: 0-6, 58.7%
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