Marong coach Linton Jacobs welcomes the challenge of playing benchmark club Mitiamo in Saturday's LVFNL match of the round.
The Panthers and Superoos are seen as the clear two best teams in the competition in 2022, but Jacobs said his side can't be placed on the same shelf as Mitiamo until it has proven to be competitive with the reigning premiers.
Marong looked well-placed to defeat Mitiamo in the only clash between the two teams in 2021, but the Superoos blew the Panthers away in the second half to win by seven goals.
"What we've produced in the first couple of games has been pleasing, but this is the real test,'' Jacobs said of the trip to Mitiamo.
"Mitiamo has been the benchmark team for three or four years, so we're looking forward to it.
"Last year we were in front at half-time and then they probably beat us up around the ball in the second half.
"We probably ran out of soldiers that day because we didn't have a bench after halfway through the third quarter.
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"Since then we've really improved as a team and we've played more footy together.
"Hopefully, we can give a good account of ourselves."
Jacobs said an influx of youth had helped spark the Panthers' early season form.
"I've been really pleased with the improvement of Jack McCaig, Patty Gretgrix and Sam Taylor, who has played two games in the ruck out of the under-18s and had a big influence,'' he said.
"We have a lot of improvement to come in our game and, hopefully, that comes to the fore against Miti."
Jacobs said the battle in the middle of the ground would be vital to the outcome of Saturday's clash.
"We'll have to match Mitiamo in contested footy,'' he said.
"We have a couple of bigger bodies this year to throw in there against the likes of Lucas Mathews and Dougie Thomas.
"We'll back our midfield first, so we certainly won't tag to start with.
"If someone gets off the chain we might look at playing someone in a run-with role.
"We think we have a forward line that can trouble them, so our first aim is to win the footy and give our forwards some opportunities to kick a winning score."
In other LVFNL games on Saturday, the resurgent Inglewood has the opportunity to defeat Bridgewater for the first time in 14 years.
The Blues' (2-0) last win over the Mean Machine (0-2) was round six of the 2008 season.
MGYCW and Newbridge do battle at Marist College with both teams chasing their wins of the season.
In the final game of the round, Pyramid Hill should be too good at home for Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
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