It's do-or-die for the Southern Mallee Giants and Ararat when the two sides clash in Sunday's Wimmera Football League preliminary final.
The powerhouses meet for the second time in just three weeks but take to the field knowing the fate of their season rests on four quarters of football.
Only a win would secure a coveted place in the grand final.
History favours the Giants, with the Hopetoun-Beulah combine winning the qualifying final 13.13 (91) to 7.4 (46).
On the six times the clubs have met, Ararat has only walked away victorious once.
But, the Rats have found form of late.
Ararat coach Shane Fisher said his charges were buoyed by the win against the Saints but remained wary of the task that lay in front of them.
"It was very pleasing to obviously bounce back from the weekend before. It was really good," he said.
"I thought we made some big inroads on that in the weekend, so it's a natural progression of doing that again this weekend.
"I guess the reality is we'll have to play at our absolute best to beat the Giants. They're an experienced and good footy side.
"We're looking forward to the challenge. I'm looking forward to it as a coach. We'll try and do a couple things differently, and hopefully, we can put it right up to the Giants."
The Giants enter the contest well-versed in finals football.
The side has not missed a finals campaign in the five seasons since the 2014 merger.
Coleman Schache's outfit will need to rebound, however, having missed the opportunity to progress straight to a second-consecutive Wimmera Football League grand final last weekend.
"We're obviously disappointed with the performance we put up, but we've still got all our energy, and we're just raring to go this weekend," Schache said.
"The main thing was just out work rate, and we were a bit off the boil at the weekend. If we fix that I have no doubt, we can turn it around in a week.
"You can't dwell on it too long at this time of the year."
The Giants recovered from a sluggish opening to take a stranglehold over the Rats, as they romped away to a strong win.
Ararat coach Shane Fisher said there were learning opportunities that came from the 45-point loss.
"We've learned a fair bit. We've just got to stay in the game for longer periods. The Giants are very good; if you let them they can smash you out of the game in 10/15 minutes," he said.
"As a group, they were a little bit deflated after the first final, but they had a resolve, and there were some really good honest tracks about what we did wrong and what we could improve on.
"We did some things well against them last time, but we did a lot of things not well too. We've just got to tidy that up this weekend."
Giants coach Coleman Schache said he expected the Rats to come back stronger.
"Whoever you play you know it's not going to be the same game as it was two weeks ago, that's for sure," he said.
"They're going to be a lot better and would have learned a lot from that game. They'll change a few things. It will be a much more challenging game.
"If we're working hard and playing our best footy no doubt we're good enough to get over the line, but we'll have to learn from the weekend.
"There were a few things where we fell that we'll try and improve on heading into this weekend."
Driving both sides' efforts this Sunday is an excitement to be playing deep into September.
"The deeper you go in finals the pressure and the intensity of the games keep getting higher and higher," Schache said.
"You're always excited when you're playing off to get into a grand final."
Shane Fisher shared a similar sentiment.
"It's pretty exciting," he said. "You're one win away from possibly playing on that last day in September."
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