In what is perhaps the greatest rivalry in the AFL, Sunday’s clash between Carlton and Collingwood will be staged as a season defining showcase.

The Pies currently sit seventh on the ladder from their opening 13 games, with the Blues six points behind with a match in hand as they chase their third straight victory.

Both sides side will enter this week as if it was the first week of finals, with a win to either club catapulting their finals chances in 2020.

The Magpies will set themselves 10 points clear of the Blues if they’re to gain four points on Sunday and will comfortably sit in the top half with three games to play.

However, churn out another ugly performance and the Magpies could be placed on the edge of a very steep drop.

The Magpies play premiership contenders Brisbane and Port Adelaide in their final month, with the Suns their only other fixture thanks to a bye round.

The Blues run home shows promise, with a victory over Collingwood placing the top eight in their reach with the out of form Giants, 16th-placed Sydney, winless Crows and the finals certainties in Brisbane to come.

Fair to say, the game in hand gives the Baggers a very good look over the Magpies.

But while the Blues fans will be eyeing a finish above Collingwood, it won’t guarantee a finals placing.

The Bulldogs, Demons and Giants are all in the same fight and will be sure to give the Blues and Magpies a tough task ahead.

While several sides will push for the last few spots, this week the Carlton and Collingwood will be solely focussed on one-another.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 6: Scott Pendlebury of the Magpies and Patrick Cripps of the Blues compete for the ball during the 2018 AFL round 03 match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 6, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

A fit Collingwood side boasts the nature of a premiership contender, but with a third of their best squad sidelined and a questionable run of form cast over their past month, the Magpies could be set for their hardest task of 2020 – Carlton.

The Blues can finally taste the top eight following season after season of mediocrity, as David Teague looks to steer a youthful ship of underdogs to their first finals appearance in seven years.

With Nathan Buckley’s side currently bleeding, the Blues have their best chance to send a message to the rest of the league.

Jeremy Howe, Jordan De Goey and Adam Treloar headline a growing list of casualties while star onballer Steele Sidebottom will remain absent from his side’s hub for the remainder of the home and away season.

But while the Magpies sour over who’s not playing, they fail to see the quality currently before them.

Nathan Buckley has done his best in promoting depth into key role players, with the club now eyeing a third straight season in the top eight.

But while their best brand of football portrays a contender, their worst displays an almighty fall from grace.

Their disposal and forward-third movement is questionable, while their consistency in defence remains unsteady.

The Magpies have what it takes to rattle cages and shoot up the ladder, but it may just come down to this weekend.

The Blues are flying, namely off the back of what was a jaw-dropping Jack Newnes boot against the Dockers to add an extra four points to their total.

If there’s ever been a single moment in 2020 to ignite hope, it was that kick.

The Blues have been less reliant on their best three-four players in 2020 and have found hidden gems in what was once deemed fools gold.

Carlton’s run home suggests they are a great shout for the top eight, but a loss against their closest rival and things begin to get very tricky, very quickly.

Both sides will be playing for everything, with Sunday’s script set to entail four quarters of season-defining football nonetheless.