The Cessnock Goannas can cement a finals spot and set up a potential top-two finish with a big win against bottom-of-the-table Maitland on Saturday.
The Goannas travel to the Maitland Sportsground for round two of the Coalfields derby after winning their opening round encounter 40-4 back on July 18.
Cessnock has dropped just two games since and the Pickers have yet to win a game, but effectively playing up a grade Maitland would love nothing more than to upset the Goannas' chances of a top-two finish.
Both teams had a bye on the weekend and the Goannas will be looking to bounce back from a frustrating two-point loss to ladder leaders Wyong on the Central Coast after leading by 12 points.
Maitland by contrast had their biggest loss, going down 68 to third-placed South Newcastle and will have appreciated the break from a tough season.
Souths host Wyong on Saturday and the Goannas can grab a two-point break on them on the ladder if Wyong wins.
They can also create a points differential buffer with the Goannas having a bye after Maitland and finishing the regular season against Lakes, and Souths facing Lakes and then Central in the run home.
Cessnock and Maitland both have a bye in reserve grade and the Cessnock women will face a fired up Maitland, ready to bounce back from their first loss of the Blues Tag season last week against Souths.
Bulldogs host Central
The Kurri Kurri Bulldogs host Central Newcastle in reserve grade and Nelson Bay in under-19s and Blues Tag on Saturday.
The Bulldogs are fourth on the reserve grade ladder, equal on eight points with the Butcher Boys who are sixth with a substantial points differential deficit.
Kurri has away games against Cessnock and Wests in the final two rounds.
Games kick off from 12.30pm.