BUSSELTON faces their toughest remaining away trip for the home and away season when they take on Carey Park in round 14 of the SWFL.
Remarkably, Sunday’s match will also be the first time Busselton’s league side have played a day game since their win over Donnybrook on June 24.
This will be a stern test of Busselton’s premiership credentials against an opponent who currently sit fourth on the table but are only two wins behind the ladder-leading Magpies.
A Busselton win, of course, will increase that margin to three wins and with only four games after, it makes slipping to fourth and facing an elimination final virtually impossible.
Carey Park bounced back to form following a shock loss to Bunbury with a 67-point win away to Augusta-Margaret River on the weekend.
With the Panthers kicking 144 points on the weekend and Busselton 139, both forward lines will go into the match full of confidence and could well repeat their shootout from earlier in the season.
Busselton won that match 129-102 after coming from behind at three-quarter-time on a day where respective full-forwards Leigh Kelly and Matthew Martin both had massive games.
The RESERVES match also shapes as an epic, with the top two sides in the competition doing battle.
Carey Park took top spot after last round, courtesy of their percentage, which is less than one per cent greater than Busselton’s.
Both clubs have seen some league players drop down a grade lately, which should increase the standard of this match.
With Collie and Eaton looming, the loser of this match could easily drop to fourth place, making it critical for both teams.
Busselton will hope for a repeat of their round five clash, which saw them crush Carey Park by 52 points.
With a match at home to Collie next week, this is the start of a season-defining fortnight for Busselton which could either effectively seal top spot, or see them slip back to fourth place.
The COLTS sees the high-flying Busselton team in the rare position of being favourites.
They have impressed in recent weeks, beating the top two teams of Eaton and Harvey Brunswick Leschenault in the last fortnight, moving into outright third place in the process.
It is a remarkable turnaround for a team that has gone from looking likely to miss the finals, to genuine premiership contenders.
This week, though, they go from being the hunter to the hunted.
Carey Park will view them as a prize scalp, particularly at home, and they will also become mathematical certainties to miss the finals should they lose, although in reality that prospect has been long gone.
Busselton won by 103 points in the earlier meeting this season, and all signs point towards a similar result.
The Magpies know as well as anybody that upsets can happen though, and they will need to be on their game – particularly with this being their first early morning game in a while.
Quite simply, they cannot afford to lose.
The colts match begins at 10.15am on Sunday, ahead of the reserves at 12.20pm and league at 2.30pm. All matches are at Carey Park’s home ground of Kelly Park in Bunbury.