The Western Magpies, coming off three superb victories over fellow finals contenders, face a danger match against close rivals Wilston Grange at Stafford on Saturday.
The Gorillas pushed the second placed Morningside all the way last round and will be geared up for a big game to take down the Pies.
The Pies selectors had three forced changes with Tim McEvoy and Mitchell Stallard injured and Matt Sondergeld promoted to Redland after recent good form. Charlie Pershouse was squeezed out with Dom Beer's return from a week out with injury.
Also coming in are smart forward Val Pope after a stint overseas, Richard Wenham, who slots into McEvoy's back flank and Redland's Matt Thomson is a like for like swap for Sondergeld.
Aaron Maricic has found a niche in the back pocket and withthe likes of Luke Scott, Brady Allen, Wenham and Chris Hunt in support will add to the Pies attacking options out of defence. Jadan Morton has been good in ruck, but will welcome back Dom Beer to share the load
The Pies midfield has lifted over the past 3 matches to start to dominatethe contested ball which has put the Pies on the front foot and offered quick service to key forwards Brent Staker and Alex Dickfos, which they are now relishing. Val Pope returns after a sabbatical and will be fresh and adds another dimension to the Pies forward structure as does the resurgent Sam Copland and the dangerous Brenton Saunders.
On baller Gareth Crawford has been Mr Consistent and with a big motor he is at the contested footy all day and is relishing longer periods on the ground. Cal Carseldine is back to his feisty best, taking personal affront if he fails to win the footy at the contest.and Lachlan Woods has rekindled his passion for the game and it is showing in his performances.
Brodie Easton has grabbed his senior opportunity with both hands and has been an important link player through the middle for the Pies.
The Magpies will start favourites in this match but we have seen in the past month that this is no guarantee of victory. The Pies have usually played well at Stafford and they will need to be on their game to overcome what will be a Gorillas outfit intent on a big scalp and nothing better than to defeat a traditional rival.
Western Magpies vs Wilston Grange Gorillas - Sat 2 July 2pm at Bendigo Bank Oval
B: Luke Mitchell- Chris Hunt - Aaron Maricic
HB: Luke Scott - Brady Allen - Richard Wenham
C: Matt Davis - Callum Carseldine (C) - David Lewis
HF: Drew Mitchell - Brent Staker-Lachlan Woods (C)
F: Brenton Saunders - Alex Dickfos - Val Pope
Rucks: Dom Beer - Ben Jaenke-Cain - Gareth Crawford
I/C Jadan Morton -Sam Copland - Brodie Easton - Matt Thomson