Edenhope-Apsley v Kalkee

Edenhope-Apsley's Ben Chadwick. The team will play Kalkee in a crucial match-up on Saturday. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

Edenhope-Apsley's Ben Chadwick. The team will play Kalkee in a crucial match-up on Saturday. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

Ground: Apsley Recreation Reserve, Saturday, 2.20pm.

Umpires: S. McKinnon and B. Campbell.

Last time they met: Round 10, 2013. Kalkee 19.19 (133) d Edenhope-Apsley 10.11 (71).

EDENHOPE-APSLEY will host Kalkee on Saturday in a crucial match-up for both teams.

Nearing the halfway point of the season, the Kees have recovered from a slow start to sit in fifth place – a game clear of Natimuk United.

Depending on the margin of victory, a win could put Kalkee into the top four on the ladder, and even the top three if Harrow-Balmoral suffers a shock loss to Pimpinio.

The game is also a pivotal one for the Saints.

The team fell just short of a win against reigning premier Laharum after leading for most of the match two weeks ago.

A win would give it an early leg up in the race for a top three finish.

A loss would put the Saints back in a scrap with Kalkee and Harrow-Balmoral, which they play next week.

Saints president Wayne Caldow said the team knew what was at stake.

“This is almost a bigger game for us than when we played Laharum,” he said.

“It will be a huge game for both clubs, because it will really determine where we sit on the ladder.”

Caldow said Kalkee’s slow start to the year would mean nothing on Saturday.

“Over the past couple of years, that’s what we’ve expected of Kalkee – the unexpected,” he said.

“As the season goes on they seem to get stronger, so we’re expecting them to be ready.”

Kalkee coach Trevor O’Brien said his team was also aware of the game’s importance.

“It’s a massive game for us – they’re going along really well and are looking like one of the top challengers to Laharum,” he said.

O’Brien said key defender Josh Mibus and utility Tim Wade had both pulled up sore after interleague duties, but he would be surprised if they did not take to the field on Saturday.

Shaun Gilbert and Jake Kearney are likely to miss, but O’Brien said a decision on who would replace them had not been made.

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