Almost one year to the day they met in the 2019 grand final, North Launceston and Lauderdale will use each other as litmus tests of their 2020 flag chances.
Grand finalists of the past three seasons, the two sides enter Saturday's 1.40pm UTAS Stadium clash in top form with the Northern Bombers on a seven-game winning streak and Lauderdale fresh from its best performance this year.
The Southern Bombers knocked Launceston off top spot with a 10-goal win last round and look all but certain to finish in third despite a shaky start to the season.
"It's really exciting to play another good side and see where we are going into a three-week campaign before finals," North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford said.
"Just to get a sense of where our group's at, what we need to work on, what we've done well - it's probably a good assessing point for us."
North Launceston has made three changes with Tom Bennett (ankle) and Mark Walsh (shoulder) set to spend two weeks on the sidelines, joining Jack Rushton and Jackson Callow who are still nursing injuries.
Ben Simpson and Zach Burt have both won recalls - the latter named in the backline, where he enjoyed much success in the second half of season 2018.
Experienced small defender Jack Avent will play in a pocket again after impressing in Rushton's pressure forward role last weekend.
Lauderdale named a debutant in dual under-16 best-and-fairest Fergus Kenny, whose inclusion has seen co-captain Josh McGuinness selected in his usual post at centre half-back.
Whitford said he wouldn't be surprised if the former Brisbane Lion returned to the middle of the ground following last weekend's three-vote effort.
"He's a fantastic player Josh - if he plays on ball he's going to play a good game, if he plays half-back he plays a good game," Whitford said.
"He played a role on ball last weekend and did a really good job for them and I thought Bryce [Walsh] did a good job on Jobi [Harper].
MORE SPORT: Porte into fourth, on track for best Tour finish
"Admittedly Jobi had a good game himself - but I thought him and [Phillip] Bellchambers worked well with [Sam] Siggins playing a bit more forward time last week.
"That's probably been the Lauderdale mould over the last few years that they can throw different things at you - their side is interchangeable.
"It's a bit of 'expect the unexpected' with Lauderdale at times - you've got to play your own game and worry about what our group's doing rather than heavily focusing on them because they can throw things around and you'll get something you probably don't expect.
"Strategically I don't think there'll be much different from both groups - it's probably who can win the ball on the inside considering it's quite a large ground at UTAS."
North have won the past four contests between the two sides, including a 26-point win at Lauderdale in round five which helped launch their winning run.
"I thought the Lauderdale game was probably a bit of a turning point for our group in some key areas - especially contested footy and craft around the contest," Whitford said.
"I thought we played a really good game down there last time and it probably kick-started the middle part of our year which is good.
"Lauderdale have ebbed and flowed through the year but they look to be peaking at the right time - they played a fantastic game last weekend and if they're anywhere near that on the weekend they're going to be really hard to beat."
NORTH LAUNCESTON v. LAUDERDALE
UTAS Stadium, Saturday, 1.40pm
- B: Z. Burt, C. Nankervis, A. Richter-Salter
- HB: F. Bennett, T. Donnelly, B. van Buuren
- C: L. Davies, B. Cox-Goodyer, S. Egger
- HF: T. Whitford, J. Laskey, D. Withers
- F: J. Avent, B. McCulloch, B. Lowe
- R: A. Lee, J. Ponting, J. Foon
- Int: J. Curran, O. Sanders, B. Simpson, C. Young
- Emg: L. Cocker, M. Cossins, N. Pearce, R. Sanders
In: Z. Burt, O. Sanders, B. Simpson
Out: M. Walsh, T. Bennett, N. Pearce
- B: N. Connors, W. Poland, O. Shaw
- HB: N. Baker, J. McGuinness, B. McGuinness
- C: R. McManus, S. Siggins, R. Sutton
- HF: P. Bellchambers, H. Richmond, A. Kalcovski
- F: L. Nelson, T. Havea, N. Oakes
- R: H. Smith, B. Walsh, F. Kenny
- Int: W. Francis, A. Hevey, T. Martin, S. Tilley
- Emg: J. Dance, N. Raglione, B. Steinbauer, J. Williams
In: N. Oakes, F. Kenny
Out: N. Raglione, J. Williams