Ground: Coughlin Park, Horsham, Saturday, 2.20pm.
Last time they met: Round 13, 2013. Horsham Saints 11.15 (81) d Ararat 2.0 (12).
LADDER leader Ararat will face its biggest challenge of the season when it takes on Horsham Saints at Coughlin Park, Horsham on Saturday.
The Rats, who finished seventh last season, have started well with impressive wins over Nhill and Stawell.
But Rats co-coach David Hosking believes the side will know more about where it stands after clashing with the 2013 runner-up.
“We think we’ve improved, but we’ve played two teams who were near us on the ladder last year,” he said.
“These guys were in a grand final last year and played some good footy.
“Their start to the season has consisted of Dimboola and Horsham, so they will be a pretty seasoned side.
“This is how we gauge our improvement.”
Rats defender Jake Williamson has been a key this season, however it has been the forward line – containing the likes of Tyler Cronin, Jack Ganley and Beau Cosson – that has fired, averaging 19 goals a game.
Hosking said his side would have a chance if it maintained its game style.
“We’ve got to make sure we maintain our structures and the areas we move the ball through,” he said.
“We’ve got a pretty fair spread of good players across the ground, but so have they.
“If we have a good day and do everything right, we’re a chance to win it.”
The Saints will be keen to bounce back after a 14-point loss to Horsham on Anzac Day.
Saints coach Shayne Breuer said his side would take plenty from that result into what he believed would be a testing game against the Rats.
“We learned a fair bit from the game against Horsham last round and the way they go about it over four quarters,” he said.
“We know how we want to play – it’s just about doing the work to make sure we play that way.”
Forwards Jacob Cooke-Harrison and Gavin Kelm and midfielder Pat Knott will again be important.
Breuer said Garry Hallam would likely miss with injury.