Russells Creek is on the ascent if Saturday's match is anything to go by.
The Creekers may have lost to second-placed Merrivale 49-35 but it was definitely a win in terms of their improvement.
The two sides met in round eight with the Tigers winning by thirty points.
Merrivale coach Elisha Sobey happily took the win but gave credit to the seventh-placed Creekers for their efforts.
She said she warned her side "not to be complacent" before the match.
"They've got nothing to lose those girls and I think they're improving every week so I take my hat off to them," she said.
"They're only just building so look out 2023 I think. If they can keep those solid girls there. Even their changes just became more solid as the game went on."
Sobey admitted the Creekers took her side "a bit by surprise".
"They've just improved since last time we played them. I think we were up 22-2 last time we played them," she said.
"Stacy (Dunkley) has done such a good job as a coach, I've got full respect for her for what she's done for that club. Look out 2023 for the Creekers."
Dunkley described her side's performance as "unreal".
"I'm just really impressed with the girls again," she said.
"They came out and fought four quarters and just didn't give up.
"I'm really happy with them."
Cloe Pulling was a standout for the Tigers, while Dunkley was her side's best.
Tiger Jocelyn McDonald and Creeker Bonnie Winter were the leading scorers for the match with 20 goals apiece.
With the win Merrivale have likely locked in second spot with one round to play.
Russells Creek need to defeat Dennington on Saturday and Timboon Demons to narrowly lose to Allansford, for it to be a chance of finishing fifth.
Dunkley is happy with her side, regardless of whether it plays finals.
"I'm very happy with the signs," she said.
"I've had people from different clubs keep commenting on how incredible the girls have improved, from round one.
"I'm hoping we all stick together and fight it out."
Timboon Demons' 72-25 win over Kolora-Noorat saw it jump to fifth on the ladder with one round to play while Dennington's 16-point loss to Panmure saw it drop to sixth.
Nirranda defeated Old Collegians by 59 points and even if it were to suffer its first loss of the season on Saturday, the Blues would still finish a win clear of second place.
Timboon Demons, Dennington, Russells Creek and Allansford can all finish as high as fifth depending on round 18's results.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.