Most would agree that Kolora-Noorat and Nirranda are favourites to appear in this year's Warrnambool and District league grand final.
But should another team be in the conversation?
Has a sleeping Tiger awoken with a roar?
Third-placed Merrivale, which finished sixth last year, has fast become the talk of the town with numerous rival coaches saying it is the big threat to the Power and Blues.
Kolora-Noorat playing coach Ben Walsh is wary of the much-improved Tigers.
"We've rated them pretty highly all year," he said.
"I think their top-end (talent) is as good as anyone and they've been able to add that."
Walsh pointed to their round seven clash.
He said his Power got the jump in the first term but the Tigers outscored them in the remaining three quarters.
Kolora-Noorat was up by 42 points at quarter-time before Merrivale bounced back.
The Tigers lost 11.16 (82) to 9.11 (65) but they were coming hard in the final quarter.
Walsh rates Tigers recruit Blair McCutcheon as the trickiest individual opponent in the league.
He said McCutcheon was difficult to handle when the Power met the Tigers.
McCutcheon, who signed on during the season after a stint with NEAFL club Redland, isn't the only recruit who has helped the Tigers.
Tate and Jalen Porter, who started the season with South Warrnambool in the Hampden league, have been important in the midfield.
Charlie McDonald (Dennington) and Angus Campbell and Todd McLean (Koroit) were among the pre-season recruits.
Nirranda co-coach Shane Threlfall also sees Merrivale as a serious threat.
"Absolutely," he said.
"They've got and better and better as the year has gone.
"They have improved their playing list.
"They're playing good structured footy."
The Blues got the better of the Tigers in round six.
Scores were locked at 51 a piece at three-quarter time but the Blues ran away with a 13.13 (91) to 9.7 (61) victory.
Forward Gary Robinson, who returns to the Blues' line-up this week, kicked three goals that day.
The Tigers, who have won six matches in a row, have been flawless since losing to the Blues and Power in consecutive weeks.
Their form has caught the attention of other WDFNL coaches.
After losing to Merrivale in round 13, Russells Creek coach Peter Timms declared the Tigers a serious premiership threat.
"I think after playing every club, Merrivale is the smokey," he said.
"I think they can go real deep into the finals."
The Creek mentor was impressed by the Tigers' hunger.
"They play with the want, they gel together," he said.
"They are well structured and well coached."
Like Timms, South Rovers coach Adam Matheson believes the Tigers could go all the way.
"I certainly rate Merrivale as a top-three team," he said last weekend.
"They're the sneaky chance for the premiership I think.
"We haven't seen them since round five but the way they are travelling and with a couple of new players to the club (anything can happen)."
The Lions went down 14.10 (94) to 7.4 (46) after the Tigers burst out the gates with a seven-goal to one first half.
South Rovers meet Merrivale on Saturday, giving Matheson the perfect chance to assess whether his assumption meets reality about the Tigers' premiership chances.
"We'll be keen to put up another good effort," Matheson said of his team.
Otherwise, the Lions mentor predicts it will be a ripping finals series.
"Because it is so tight you'd like to be finishing top-three because all the finals are going to be tough games," he said.
Matheson, whose side just faced Nirranda, said the Blues were a strong team.
"They're just really physically strong, they can stand up in tackles and keep the ball moving their way," he said.
"They'll certainly be in the mix for a back-to-back (premiership) I'm assuming."
He said the Blues and Power spread well from stoppages.
But Matheson said it was not just about the top-three.
"Old Collegians certainly aren't out of the equation," he said.
"Whoever gets fifth, they won't be making up the numbers either."
Tigers playing coach Jason Rowan said his team certainly wasn't getting ahead of itself.
"We've still got to be able to complete a victory over a side that is above us," he said.
"We got close to Kolora-Noorat and Nirranda but still haven't been able to get the win against one of those which are obviously the benchmark of the competition.
"I think we're structurally set up better than we were earlier in the season.
"Blokes are more settled in their positions.
"We're definitely on the right tack but there's still a lot of work to do.
"The next couple of weeks are huge."
Merrivale hosts the Blues next week before it travels to Noorat to meet the Power in the final round.
But first they've got to take down the unpredictable South Rovers.
Merrivale has played one match in three weeks due to byes.
Rowan said the Tigers had ramped up training in previous weeks and had a "mini pre-season".
They tapered off this week.
Rowan said the Tigers needed to take out one of the sides sitting above them before they could declare themselves a genuine contender.
"The boys are excited for that challenge," he said.
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