SOUTH COAST AFL
Improving Figtree Kangaroos face another test of their progression this season in Saturday's away clash against third-placed Bomaderry at Artie Smith Oval.
Three weeks ago Figtree beat premiers Wollongong for the first time, then found Northern Districts too tough, and now, rested from the bye, face a third top-four side in a month.
Figtree coach Ash Cairnduff recognises his young side will have peaks and troughs, but the overall trajectory is upward.
After a stunning win over the Bulldogs, the Kangaroos weren't able to back up against the hard-nosed Norths and now face a Bomaderry side desperate to avoid a third loss in five games.
"We didn't quite pass the test against a very good side in Northern Districts and after five or 10 minutes of that game we knew it was going to be tough," Cairnduff said.
"But we fought it out, won the last quarter and now with the week off I expect us to take it to Bomaderry.
"After this game we'll have played the top four teams and can assess where we are at.
"With a young side we're constantly learning and challenging ourselves and it will be the same against Bomaderry. The goal is to keep getting better, keep improving."
Perhaps more than any club Bomaderry can attest South Coast AFL has virtually two competitions - the big three of Wollongong, Kiama and Norths in one and the other teams battling each other.
Figtree are arguably in the middle, while Bomaderry have seen both sides with 100-point wins over Shellharbour and Albatross and narrow losses to Wollongong and Norths in the last month.
Bomaderry led Norths by a goal at three-quarter time last Saturday, but kicked just 1.4 to Norths's 4.1 in the fourth term in an eight-point loss.
Now Bomaderry will be desperate to assert their top-four standing against the improving Kangaroos.
In Saturday's other games, Nowra host Northern Districts, Kiama are at home to Albatross and Port Kembla host Wollongong.
Finally, the seventh-placed Illawarra Lions have the weekend off with a wet-weather catch-up round in Sydney AFL.
SOUTH COAST AFL
Round 8 (All games 2.10pm start)
Bomaderry v Figtree at Artie Smith Oval
Kiama v Albatross at Bonaira Oval
Port Kembla v Wollongong at Kully Bay Oval
Nowra v Northern Districts at West Street Oval