The opportunity to snare an elusive victory will drive Shepparton United and Mansfield tomorrow.
With only seven wins between the pair for the season, Deakin Reserve will play host to what is sure to be a fierce contest as players throw everything they have at each other.
For the Demons, the message from coach Peter Sheehan this week has been one of consistency.
‘‘We see it as a winnable game, but obviously we have got to compete for longer than we have been,’’ he said.
‘‘Their onballers are certainly top end and ours will have to compete for longer.
‘‘If that means putting more blokes into those rotations to share the load, then that’s something we’ll look at.’’
Shepparton United has conceded an average of 137 points in its past six losses, but Sheehan believed his charges were dealing with the tough run well.
‘‘The boys have been pretty resilient throughout the year,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve had a couple of heavy defeats, where we’ve switched off for a quarter or a half, but they’ve always come back to training ready to go again.’’
Ben Bingham, Jack Norman and Josh Kezerle will return to the field tomorrow, with Sheehan hopeful his troops could rectify some poor patches of recent matches.
‘‘We don’t just gradually fall away, we just fall off the end of the earth straight away,’’ he said.
‘‘If one seems to go, we all seem to go, so we need to share the load better.
‘‘We’re looking forward to the challenge though, our young group will learn a lot from one of the best midfields in the competition.’’
Mansfield coach Cameron Hotton also hoped his side could provide a more even performance tomorrow after it let an early lead slip against Seymour in round 13.
‘‘We were obviously disappointed to fade away after a good start,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to make sure we come out and play a consistent four quarters and hopefully get the win.’’
The availability of Ryan Bartlett (soreness) and Nick Gray (VFL duties) is not yet known, but if the duo are cleared to play then the Eagles will go into the clash with an unchanged line-up.
And with a finals berth out of the question, Hotton’s focus has shifted to preparing for next season.
‘‘Most of our group are young, local guys who will be around for the next few years,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to get better as a group at the end of this season, so coming into next year we don’t have to start from scratch again.’’