Defence is set to play a crucial role for Merrivale in its quest to overcome Panmure in the Warrnambool and District league on Saturday.
There is little to separate the sides after 11 rounds. The Bulldogs are third on 36 points and the Tigers are fourth on 32.
The difference between the two sides is evident in their for and against totals.
Panmure has the equal-second highest points kicked in the competition with 1222, compared to Merrivale's 1053.
Merrivale has the second-lowest points against with 491, in contrast to Panmure's 623.
Even after 10 rounds - when each team had played each other once - Panmure had scored 209 more points than Merrivale and the Tigers had conceded 86 points less than the Bulldogs.
Merrivale coach Josh Sobey is aware of each side's strengths and is hopeful the Tigers side can come out on top.
"They put on a lot of scoreboard pressure and they can kick a score," he said.
"Defence has been our key the whole year and we'll continue to try and strive in that space.
"They've got some experienced players through the middle.
"Clearance-wise we probably came out even last time."
Merrivale and Panmure met in round three, with the Tigers triumphing by nine points in a tight affair.
Bulldogs coach and key-tall Chris Bant was absent in that match and will strengthen his side's attack this time around.
Bant has kicked 16 goals from seven games this year after claiming 43 across 14 games in 2021.
"Banty is a good footballer, he's been around a long time and no doubt he'll help them improve," Sobey said.
"We're just looking forward to the challenge. We feel like we'll have the right match-ups but we've just got to play our game.
"We've still got to fine-tune the way we want to go about it and hopefully we can bring it all Saturday."
Merrivale is fresh off a confidence-boosting 117-point win over Old Collegians in round 11, which playing coach Sobey said he was delighted with.
"I spoke after the game on Saturday, that's probably the best four-quarter performance we've had for a while," he said.
"We've been pretty consistent with our efforts across the board so we've been working hard and we'll continue to do so.
"We've got to put it together this week."
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