Three sides are locked in a race for the Hampden league minor premiership and that race is only going to become more heated as the competition closes in on finals.
The 2021 season has been a cracker so far with Koroit, North Warrnambool Eagles and South Warrnambool all locked on 32 points while Portland and Camperdown are in the hot seat to secure the other two finals spots.
But at the halfway point, and with at least seven games to come, there is still plenty of drama to play out this season.
The Standard's Sean Hardeman has analysed every Hampden league club's senior football side's season so far and rated how the opening half of the year has gone for them.
Current position: Fifth - five wins and four losses
Points for: 661
Points against: 641
Comment: The Magpies are on track to make the finals for the first time since their stunning 2018 season, which culminated in a grand final berth.
The areas for improvement for Neville Swayn's side is it hasn't beaten anyone above it on the ladder but have got close to joint leaders South Warrnambool (14 points) and North Warrnambool Eagles (three).
The form of forward Sam Gordon, who has kicked 43 goals to lead the league's sharpshooters, has been another positive for the Leura Oval-based club.
If the Magpies, who are fifth in the league for points for and against, can nab a few victories against higher placed sides they will feel much more confident if they were to face them in finals.
Current position: Seventh - three wins and six losses
Points for: 510
Points against: 736
Comment: The opening five games of the season had the Bombers languishing at the bottom of the ladder but three wins in the last four weeks heading into the bye will give them a handy boost heading into the second half of the year.
Have had encouraging performances against North Warrnambool Eagles (lost by three points) in round one and South Warrnambool (15) in round eight.
Adam Courtney's troops, led by in-form ruckman Mark Marriott, can score wins against the likes of Camperdown, Port Fairy, Hamilton Kangaroos and Portland, and if results go their way they'll be a chance for an unlikely finals berth.
Current position: Eighth - two wins and seven losses
Points for: 541
Points against: 804
Comment: The Kangaroos have shown glimpses of what they're capable of under legendary coach Gerald FitzGerald.
The three-time VFL premiership coach's side has only managed wins against Cobden and last-placed Port Fairy, which were both comfortable victories.
The departure of Levi Dare hurts their ruck and experience stocks but there's still plenty of upside. There's also loads of opportunities to turn around its form and build towards a hopefully more successful 2022.
Current position: First - eight wins and one loss
Points for: 1087
Points against: 328
Comment: The Saints' march continues as strong as ever following a coronavirus-enforced year off.
Again the dominant team in the league and are deserved holders of first spot after nine games. Number one in points for and conceded and no victory below 50 points for the season.
The Saints are also averaging a staggering 120 points a game and conceding just 36.
Just one defeat to fellow 2019 grand finalist North Warrnambool Eagles (31 points) this season. Chris McLaren's side can secure its seventh flag in a row if its current form continues.
Current position: Second - eight wins and one loss
Points for: 806
Points against: 488
Comment: Another great season for the Eagles under super coach Adam Dowie.
Have survived narrow games against Cobden and Camperdown (three points) and have only one defeat to fellow premiership contender South Warrnambool (31 points).
Dowie's side will be a strong force in the second half of the season with the inclusion of former AFL players Ty Vickery and Billie Smedts featuring regularly.
If they keep going as they are the Eagles will get closer to erasing the demons of 2019.
Current position: Last - one win and eight losses
Points for: 499
Points against: 920
Comment: A year of development for Winis Imbi's Port Fairy after his first season was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Seagulls are working had to implement Imbi's philosophies and that hard work will soon pay off. Imbi knows Port Fairy's "ah ha moment" is close and he has seen a number of glimpses his side's potential its just about it clicking in the one game.
If the Seagulls keep pushing things will change and they can get themselves into a run and build confidence to take into a better 2022 season.
Current position: Fourth - five wins and four losses
Points for: 689
Points against: 639
Comment: A great start to the season for the Tigers and there's a juicy carrot dangling in front of Jarrod Holt's side - a first Hampden league finals appearance.
A positive start with wins against everyone below them except to a flying Cobden in the last few weeks.
The Tigers would love to finish the season with wins against everyone below them and if they can sneak one against the top three they'll be full of confidence for that first finals series.
Current position: Third - eight wins and one loss
Points for: 687
Points against: 439
Comment: A great third year for South Warrnambool under coach Mat Battistello, who has the Roosters primed for a crack at Koroit's crown.
Battistello has to swung the changes and brought in youth and experience but his side has still managed an eight-game winning streak since a humbling defeat to the Saints on Good Friday.
If the Roosters can increase its points for, which is fourth in the league, and continue its stringent defence, which is second, they can go all the way.
Current position: Ninth - two wins and seven losses
Points for: 542
Points against: 871
Comment: Ben Kenna's young Bloods side is building its confidence and has shown in games it is capable of scoring quickly.
The emergence of key forward Will Kain has been a big positive with the young gun kicking 29 majors so far this season.
He is fast becoming a fan favourite for Terang Mortlake supporters and a headache for opposition defenders.
Controlling the game and playing with confidence are key areas the Bloods are looking to address and if they can sort those out in the second half of the year they will win a lot more games.
Current position: Sixth - three wins and six losses
Points for: 603
Points against: 759
Comment: Not the greatest start for the Blues under coach Ben Parkinson with just the three wins to open his tenure.
The Blues' season was thrown into disarray on the eve of the season with the sudden departure of mentor Matt O'Brien, who took up a job opportunity, but they are fighting back.
The Blues would be happy to enter the second half of the season within touching distance of Portland and Camperdown, who hold the final two spots in the top five.
Spearhead Jason Rowan is nearing a return and would boost their scoring output and also their chances of making a late run for the Hampden league finals, and if things to go their way they can make it.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.