Tomorrow’s match against the Shepparton Swans will go a long way to tying up second spot for Shepparton.
The Bears occupy the position below Kyabram, but chances for second place remain open with Seymour and Euroa making up the trio of teams sitting on 12 wins.
With a favourable run home that finishes with Mooroopna next week, Shepparton should secure a meeting with the Bombers in the first week of the finals.
Bears coach Brad Campbell said the matches would be used to ensure his side was in the best shape for September action.
‘‘It’s a fine line, we want to continue our momentum and keep looking to get better and set yourself up for the finals,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a good opportunity to get rid of a few of the little niggles and sore spots.
‘‘We’ll be looking to try and use the last couple of games to get a few kilometres into certain players and manage others within the group.’’
Veteran Nick Allan is expected to come back in to the line-up after being a late withdrawal against Echuca, having been hospitalised after suffering a corked calf in round 15.
Campbell said young gun Luke Smith and classy midfielder David Stretton were in the mix to return after missing the match prior to the bye, only serving to make the Bears’ on-ball stocks even stronger.
Gaining the ball through the middle is an area Swans coach Paul Griffiths would like to see improvement in, with the Swans only able to compete strongly with Mooroopna for a quarter last week.
‘‘They’ve got (Ben) Davies and Stretton and all these kinds, they’ve got a quality midfield, but we’ve certainly got to stop their supply as much as possible, we’ve had a good strong developing year and want to finish it off strongly in the last two weeks.’’
BJ Squire is determined to play out the season, having kicked four goals last week while sitting in the forward line carrying an injury.
‘‘Everyone knows how good of a footballer BJ is, but he’s got as much character as anyone else,’’ Griffiths said.
‘‘He had a tear in his lower quad and didn’t find that out until a few days ago, he couldn’t run against Mooroopna, but thinks he’ll be right to play on-ball.
‘‘I’ll try and grab the reins, but like many good players he’ll back himself in.’’