FRESH from one of its best performances of the season, Mount Pleasant is bracing for a test against the best.
The third-placed Blues host undefeated Elmore at Toolleen on Saturday as the HDFNL season enters the second half.
Elmore won the teams' earlier season contest 59-33, with both teams down on players.
Mounts rebounded from a surprise loss to North Bendigo to give themselves some breathing space in third spot with a 19-goal win over Colbinabbin.
Blues coach Carine Comer hopes her team can carry some of last week's momentum into their clash against the Bloods.
"We really took it up to them in the first half last time, but they took it away in that second half and looked really good," she said.
"Hopefully, we can improve on that and if not beat them, at least get close to them and give them a good run for their money.
"Everyone expects that Gabe (Richards) is the one to beat, but they are tough all over the court.
"If we can match them elsewhere on the court, we're half a chance of doing it down in the goal ring.
"I'd be very happy if we could be competitive for the full four quarters."
Elmore flexed its muscles last week in a 74-38 victory over an in-form Lockington-Bamawm United to score its ninth straight win of the season.
In a welcome sign, joint coach Allira Holmes, who has been hampered by a calf injury, played a quarter and a half, as the Bloods inched closer to regaining their full strength line-up.
In an ominous warning to their rivals, fellow coach Gabe Richards insists her team's best netball is still to come.
She is expecting a tough challenge from the Blues, who will relish being on their home court for the second straight week.
"They were very good the first time around, have been playing really great netball and are always fun to play against," she said.
"We've set a standard for ourselves and just need to keep that consistency up for the rest of the season.
"If we get a chance to play some different combos, we'll try that and see how we go."
While Richards generally commands the most attention from opposing coaches, midcourter Andrea Wilson has proven every bit as integral to the Bloods' success and again looms as a player to watch.
Meanwhile, Huntly coach Emily Eliades has declared her side's next three weeks against Heathcote, Leitchville-Gunbower and Lockington-Bamawm United as 'season defining'.
The sixth-placed Hawks enter a tough contest against Heathcote on the back of three straight losses and desperately need a win to regain some confidence and momentum.
"They're all must wins, otherwise it's very unlikely we'd be making finals," Eliades said.
"Especially when we have those three tough ones (Colbinabbin, Elmore and White Hills) in a row to end the season.
"The job is really on for the rest of the year and that starts hopefully with beating Heathcote and turning the tide against Leitchville-Gunbower, who beat us early in the year."
Heathcote will be aiming to snap a five-game losing streak.
In other games, Lockington-Bamawm United hosts second-placed White Hills and North Bendigo clashes with Colbinabbin at Atkins Street.
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