Second spot is on the line when Eltham hosts Thomastown at Eltham Central Park, with the two sides currently sitting in third and second place respectively.
The Panthers are coming off a two-week break after having the bye in Round 7. They currently sit one win and 1.16 percent behind the Bears, so a win this week would be enough to propel them inside the top-two for the first time since Round 1.
Their last game in Round 6 saw them record a convincing 96-point win over Watsonia, giving the club consecutive victories for the first time this year.
After leading by just 17 points at half time, the Panthers held the Saints to just one behind in the third term as they piled on five unanswered goals, before kicking 11 goals in the final term to record their biggest win of the season.
Brandon Freeman led the goal kickers with his bag of four, while three other Panthers chipped in with three. Brent Macaffer and Anton Woods were named as their best.
Eltham will be bolstered by the inclusion of Collingwood utility Adam Oxley, given the VFL Magpies have a bye this weekend. Oxley was a standout in his only appearance for the Panthers this year, however his side suffered an upset home loss to the Fitzroy Stars that day.
Thomastown will have been looking forward to returning to the field for 14 days after its last game ended in a heartbreaking defeat – losing a thrilling four-point game to Banyule which ended a run of five-straight wins.
Leading by 33 points early in the final term, Thomastown wasn’t able to hold off a resurgent Banyule outfit, who kicked eight goals in the final term – the last of which came on the final siren goal to Devin McDonald to pinch the result.
While Thomastown would be bitterly disappointed to lose from such a commanding position, the performance confirmed that Ben Chapman’s side is a legitimate contender this year.
James Rizzolio, Ben Nesci and Matthew Vasilevski were outstanding in the game against Banyule and will look to continue that form this week, while Salvatore Mamone bagged three goals.