Ararat v Dimboola

GRAB: Ararat's Stephen Phillips takes a mark. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

GRAB: Ararat's Stephen Phillips takes a mark. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

Ground: Alexandra Oval, Ararat, tomorrow, 2.20pm.

Last time they met: Round seven, 2014. Dimboola 21.9 (135) d Ararat 10.12 (72).

DIMBOOLA coach Stuart Farr believes the reigning premier's season will be on the line when it travels to Ararat on Saturday.

With three rounds to play before finals, the Roos have replaced the Rats in the top five.

But both sides' finals ambitions are well and truly alive going into tomorrow's clash.

Farr said the Roos' chances of making the five hinged on a win against the Rats.

"Its a massive game if we win we're alive, if we lose we're done," he said.

If the Roos do not come away with the points tomorrow, they will have to beat Horsham Saints and Minyip-Murtoa in the final two rounds and bank on other results going their way to play finals.

The Roos will start as favourites, having won three of their past four as opposed to the Rats' run of four consecutive defeats.

Ararat coach David Hosking said his side, which would return from a two-week break, desperately needed to win.

"There's no doubt we lost a bit of momentum, confidence and form in the middle part of the season," he said.

"There were signs against Warrack where we were getting back to playing the sort of footy we can.

"This is our last chance to control our own destiny to a certain degree.

"If we don't win tomorrow we have to rely on results going our way I don't think anyone at the club wants that."

Farr said his side had started to click and would travel south with form and confidence.

"We're starting to really play as a team," he said.

"We're looking forward to it and we're confident we can run and move the ball as well as anyone."

Hosking said ruckman Xavier Vearing would return for the Rats, but Peter Thompson and Zac Louder would miss.

He said while kicking more goals than the Roos was the key to victory, defence would be a priority.

"We've got to put up better defensive efforts," Hosking said.

"Not just our back six I think we have to defend better all over the ground.

"It's got to be a real team effort."

Farr said he believed the key contest would be in the middle, with both sides boasting powerful forward lines.

"If we can get our hands on it and get it forward we're confident we can get the result," he said.

"But if we let them run and get open space there's a fair chance they'll cut us up."

Roos Ash Clugston and Lachie Exell have been in brilliant form, while tall Rats targets Beau Cosson and Liam Cavanagh could cause some headaches.

In-form Roos Andrew Seers, Al McKinnon and Tyler Blake will clash with a Rats on-ball brigade led by Dan Mendes, Aaron Searle and Alan Batchelor.

If the Rats were to knock off the Roos with games they would also expect to win against Nhill and Stawell to follow they would be in the box seat to claim a top five finish, something the club has not achieved since 2010.

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