Illawarra coach Dave Nolen has challenged the Lions to take control of their destiny when they begin a season-defining month in the Sydney AFL on Saturday.
The Lions take on third-placed Macquarie Uni in Sydney at 2pm, before a must-win showdown with Parramatta, the team they must leap ahead of on the ladder to play finals.
Nolen is adamant the Wollongong outfit can have a say in September action after producing their best win of the season against the University of Technology Sydney in the curtain-raiser to the Sydney Swans reserves clash.
"It opened up our eyes a bit that we can be a contender," he said.
"It also showed the rest of the competition what we are capable of, but the key now is to repeat it on a consistent basis.
"The loss to St George a couple of weeks ago put us on the back foot, so we know we have to keep winning to make the finals and we have to be prepared to travel to Sydney and do it."
Defender Josh Tier returns to the line-up after missing Sunday's victory over the Bats at North Dalton Park.
Illawarra are eight points, plus a significant percentage gap, behind Parramatta, with six games remaining.
After the Goannas clash, they face the competition's top two teams, Balmain and Pennant Hills.
Meanwhile, Wollongong Bulldogs will be out to keep up the lead on arch-rivals Kiama in the race for the South Coast AFL minor premiership.
The Dogs triumphed by nine points in the last of the four-game schedule at Dalton Park on Sunday to draw level on the ladder.
They take on Northern Districts at Keira Oval on Saturday, while the Power are favourites to beat Nowra.
In other games, Shellharbour will clash with Bomaderry and Figtree travel south to take on Albatross.
In the women's AFL competition, the Saints take on Penrith.