Is Golden Square the real deal? Are the Dogs flat track bullies?
One month ago you would have scoffed at those questions, but shock defeats to an undermanned Sandhurst and the improving Kyneton cast doubts on Golden Square's status as a genuine top three team.
The Dogs have a 5-2 record through seven games, with their best win a victory over fourth-placed Eaglehawk.
They've beaten up on the bottom three teams, but can they produce against the big boys?
Saturday's trip to Gardiner Reserve to play the unbeaten Gisborne will shed some light on the answer to Golden Square's big questions.
"It's massive that we play well,'' Carter said.
"The way the season is set up, you play some poorer sides, but you really need to play well against those top teams.
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"We've set ourselves for a big game and we want to perform well against the likes of Gisborne and Strathfieldsaye.
"Golden Square and Gisborne games are always tough and we have a big fortnight, with a game against Strathfieldsaye to follow.
"These two games will show how close we are to the top, but we go in with some confidence because we think our best footy is as good as anyone."
Contested ball work was high on the agenda at Wade Street this week as Square prepared for what is expected to be a physical encounter against a club it holds in high regard.
"We've had a good week on the track and the boys are really excited for the opportunity to go down to Gisborne and play against the team that is the yardstick of the competition,'' Carter said.
"It's a chance to see where we're at. I think we match up pretty well against Gisborne.
"We think the brand of footy they play is pretty similar to ours - contested footy and both sides have handy forward lines.
"We're keen for the contest and ultimately it will be won in the midfield.
"The team that can get more supply to their forward line will get a big advantage."
Gisborne's midfield has been bolstered by the return of Brad Bernacki after he played the previous two games with Essendon at VFL level.
It was mixed news for Gisborne in terms of its forward set-up.
Mid-sized forward Ethan Foreman returns from a hamstring injury, but centre half-forward Jack Scanlon will miss again because of a shoulder injury.
"Everyone looks forward to the big games,'' Gisborne coach Rob Waters said.
"Everyone has been looking forward to this game...Golden Square beat us last year up at Wade Street and we're keen to have another crack at them.
"We're not at full strength, but it's as close as we've been for a while."
Waters said the battle between Gisborne's defence and Square's forward stars Jayden Burke and Joel Brett would be one of the highlights of the game.
Brett kicked 14 goals against Castlemaine last round.
"We'll back our backline in and I'm sure they'll back their forward line in,'' Waters said.
"Brett is not overly tall and he's not overly quick, but geez he has some smarts.
"Burke and Brett will kick goals at some stage, they kick something like 75 per cent of their goals.
"It's a matter of us putting enough pressure on up the field to ensure they don't get good delivery.
"It's team defence rather than individuals."
At the other end of the ground, Gisborne skipper Pat McKenna, fresh from 11 goals against Kangaroo Flat, is expected to have Liam Barrett as his opponent.
The versatile Square defender/midfielder probably has as good a record on McKenna as any player in the BFNL.
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