You can smell it, can't you?
The days have grown longer and the flowers may be blooming, but these signifiers of Spring are all inconsequential to the footballing fanatic.
With the temperature rising, realistically and metaphorically, and the pretenders now separated from the contenders, it can only mean one thing - finals football.
Sure, in a standard season we would only be days away from a do or die clash in front of a packed house at the MCG, but 2020 has proven that tried and true recipes are not to be regarded.
Even though the frenetic home and away season has rounded the bend and passed the post, the job is still ahead of eight clubs in their hunt for the 'Covid Cup'.
With a week off before the season's after party begins, each of the octet of coaches who have received invitations still have chores to perform before the champagne corks can be cracked
From the eighth seed to there first, here are the 2020 premiership contender’s ‘to do lists’.
Having snuck in with a final round victory, the Bulldogs still have multiple errands to run before the ball is bounced in their elimination clash against the Saints.
Of the pair of worries that have coach Luke Beveridge tearing at his perpetually slick locks, only one is entirely within his control.
Over the course of the shortened 2020 season, Beveridge has used a whopping thirty-nine players from his list of forty-five. This may provide unforeseeable benefits in the future, but it still doesn’t cease Bulldogs supporters bemoaning the revolving door at selection time. Albeit through the mediums of social media platforms, the Footscray faithful repeatedly raise a salient question – does Beveridge actually know what his best twenty-two looks like?
Having seen almost every possible combination by now, these fans will be hopeful that ‘Bevo’ has made up his mind by the this late stage of the season.
In the wake of Aaron Naughton's facial injury that looks to require surgery, Beveridge will also be praying that out of form recruit Josh Bruce will step up to the plate. If he can recapture even a modicum of his past success and add to his paltry total of twelve goals since crossing from St. Kilda, then the forward line bereft of tall targets may be able to post a winning score.
Reckon Josh Bruce would want this effort back. 😟 pic.twitter.com/1390V1vqwJ
— Josh Rickard (@JRickard1991) July 12, 2020
Should some stability at the selection table arise and their mustachioed spearhead start slotting the big sticks, the Dogs should be bullish that their best can beat most.