The BFNL match of the round between Gisborne and Strathfieldsaye has been rocked by a spate of COVID cases.
Second-placed Strathfieldsaye will make the trip to Gardiner Reserve to play ladder-leader Gisborne without a host of senior players.
The Storm have been forced to forfeit the reserves after being ravaged by COVID-19 cases.
"It basically started on Sunday and hasn't stopped,'' Storm co-coach Shannon Geary said of the COVID cases.
"We've had three players pull out today from the senior team we picked on Thursday night.
"We're probably not going to know who is playing until noon on Saturday.
"There's nothing we can do about it. It's a sign of the times and it's not something we can control.
"It's a good challenge for the group that will represent the club."
The COVID cases continue the Storm's unlucky injury and illness run throughout 2022.
"I feel for them, it's not great,'' Gisborne coach Rob Waters said.
"It's a tough time with COVID and the flu going around everywhere.
"In terms of the game on Saturday we won't treat it any different. We'll have 22 players and they'll have 22 players and I'm sure both teams will do the best they can.
"Strathfieldsaye has been hit by injuries all season as much as anyone and they've still managed to be a very good team.
"They'll still put together a very good team on Saturday. We're expecting another tough game."
Of the Gisborne team named on Thursday night, tall forward Dan Davie will miss the match because of illness.
A Bulldog win would almost guarantee the club the minor premiership and an automatic berth in the second semi-final.
"We're certainly not looking that far ahead,'' Waters said.
"We've got Strathfieldsaye this Saturday and then South Bendigo the following week, so we've got two really big games ahead.
"After that, we still have to play Golden Square away and Eaglehawk in the last round in a game that they might need to win to make the finals.
"There's a lot of footy to be played yet, so top spot on the ladder is not in our thinking."
Should he play on Saturday, popular Storm utility Jake Hall will represent the club for the 150th time at senior level.
The premiership player is one of the most versatile players to pull on the blue and white hooped jumper.
"It's not just what he does on the field, it's what he does off the field,'' Geary said of Hall.
"His work ethic off the field is enormous. He's one of the guys that has put the club where it is today.
"On the field, he's played as a forward, as a midfielder, down back and even in the ruck. He's even won a club goalkicking award.
"He doesn't complain about where he plays...he just gets the job done."
Gisborne won the first battle between the two teams this season by six points.
The Dogs were the better side for the first three quarters before Strathfieldsaye stormed home to get within one goal at the final siren.
In other games on Saturday, fifth-placed Kyneton needs to get back on the winners' list when it hosts Kangaroo Flat, sixth-placed Eaglehawk should bolster its percentage when bottom side Maryborough makes the trip to Canterbury Park, South Bendigo will look to consolidate fourth spot on the ladder when it travels to Camp Reserve to play Castlemaine and Sandhurst and Golden Square meet at the QEO.
# Teams as named on Thursday night:
GISBORNE v STRATHFIELDSAYE
2.20pm Saturday at Gisborne.
B: S. Graham, Z. Vescovi, J. Reaper
HB: L. Spear, J. Owen, L. Rodgers
C: M. Lord, N. Doolan, S. Bell-Bartels
HF: E. Minns, H. Thomas, M. Merrett
F: D. Davie, M. Panuccio, P. McKenna
R: B. Blake, S. Walsh, F. Lakey
Int: M. Weber, B. Eales, J. Normington, L. Ellings
B: M. Hallinan, H. Lawrence, S. Geary
HB: T. Bennett, L. Ratcliffe, J. Neylon
C: D. Clohesy, R. Clarke, H. Conway
HF: R. Wilson, J. Hall, C. Sheahan
F: J. Schischka, L. Sharp, C. McCarty
R: J. Mayes, J. Moorhead, B. Alexander
Int: D. Mulquiny, M. Parsons, P. Blandford, J. Formosa, S. Murphy, B. Slater
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.