Ground: Alexandra Oval, Ararat, Saturday, 2.20pm.
Last time they met: Round eight, 2014. Ararat 19.9 (123) d Nhill 7.6 (48).
ARARAT coach David Hosking has warned his charges not to take Nhill lightly despite the disparity in ladder positions.
The Tigers are enduring a tough season and are yet to get a win on the board, while Ararat is one game out of the top five with two rounds to play.
The Rats have beaten Nhill comfortably on both occasions this year and will start red-hot favourite on Saturday.
“We’re feeling confident. We’re starting to play some good footy again, which is important,” Hosking said.
“We’re focused on developing good habits and doing the right thing regardless of our opposition.
“Every one of our players has to show due respect to their opponent regardless of who it is – because if they don’t, that’s when they’ll hurt you.”
Nhill coach Shane Grover believes his charges stand a good chance of claiming their first win at Alexandra Oval.
“We’re reasonably happy with our competitiveness and we’ll work on being competitive for all four quarters,” he said.
The Tigers will welcome back forward Andrew Watson, general soreness, along with onballers Jake Pilgrim, shoulder, and Aaron Beer, calf.
Grover said his midfielders would have to work hard against Rats standouts Dan Mendes and Alan Batchelor, while talented forward Beau Cosson could expect extra attention from the Tigers’ defenders.
“Hopefully we’ll match up tight on them. I know they’ll get a lot of the ball but we want to put them under pressure,” he said.
Hosking said the Rats would be close to full strength, excluding players with long-term injuries, including James and Zander Laidlaw.
Zach Louder will return from a knee injury through the reserves.
Hosking said his charges needed to perform consistently against Nhill on Saturday and Stawell the following week.