Just one single point separated Nhill and Stawell when they faced off earlier this season and they expect another tough clash at Davis Park this weekend.
Stawell goes into the clash fresh off its second bye of the season. The week off provided the Warriors with a chance to assess where they are at in the competition and rest up for the back end of the season.
Stawell coach Jamie Solyom said the break came at a good time for his group but he is wary of the negative effects of the bye.
“Hopefully everyone is feeling fresh and ready to go,” he said.
“We rested up and should be fit and firing. We just have to be careful we don’t come out sluggish after a little break.”
Read more: Mendes to coach Rats against Dimboola
The Warriors will still not be at full strength with some players touch-and-go for Saturday’s contest.
Solyom said he is in no rush to be playing players who aren’t 100 per cent fit.
“We have a few coming back but we can’t rush them back in. It is important to make sure they are completely ready before playing them,” he said.
“We have had some great juniors stand up in the senior side this season who have been really impressive when given the chance.
“Young Jacob Salmi has held his own and then some in the back pocket and Bailey Taylor has been outstanding on the wing.”
The Warriors nearly gave up a massive early lead when the teams met earlier this season. Solyom said his side has learnt from that game but it won’t make too much of an impact in the way they prepare.
“We take more notice of recent weeks than that game to be honest,” he said.
“We have let sides get a jump on us the last few weeks so a good start this week will be the key.”
Stawell is just one game outside of the top five and his been in good form without winning in recent weeks, pushing the top two sides Horsham and Ararat to within a few goals.
Solyom said while it is good to be competing against the top teams, being competitive doesn’t earn you four points.
“You always have to be happy when you push two top sides but in those games we had chances to beat them,” he said.
“Like I have said it isn’t just about being competitive, we have to get reward for our effort.”
Despite winning just one match for the season so far, Solyom said he expects a tough battle against Nhill.
“I’ve seen much better teams on paper go up to Nhill and come back with their tails between their legs,” he said. “It’s never an easy game up at Nhill.”