While already touted as the fixture that will likely decide the rights to Harley Reid, both Hawthorn and West Coast will be playing for more than just the chance to strengthen their place in the queue for this year's top National Draft talent.
Separated by just half a per cent ahead of their clash in Tasmania, Sunday afternoon's showpiece will see one side snap their winless run should they fail to end the game level.
The stage is set just a week out from the final round before this month's Mid-Season Draft, with the winner to come away with premiership points and a percentage boost as the loser takes their place at the front of the pecking order with first dibs on this year's pool of mature-aged talent on offer.
The Eagles found themselves holding Pick 1 last June after recording just the sole victory from the opening 11 rounds, breaking away from the similarly placed 1-10 Roos thanks to the lowly percentage of 49.7%.
West Coast called on Dandenong talent Jai Culley when they were on the clock, and a year later might be relying on Culley's absence to further add to their list. The emerging midfielder's recent ACL injury is likely to see the Eagles move the 20-year-old to their inactive list and subsequently open a list vacancy for the mid-year intake.
But to first find themselves with Pick 1 the Eagles will be needing to suffer their eighth-straight defeat, a result that would come at the hands of the only side sitting below them on the ladder, Hawthorn.
Should they manage to leap the Roos and hold onto 16th spot at the end of Round 11, the Eagles may still have the rights to the first selection that follows Hawthorn, with North Melbourne yet to open a required list spot to enter the draft.
Currently only six AFL clubs have available list spots for the Mid-Season Draft, with Hawthorn, Fremantle, Essendon, Geelong and the Western Bulldogs each deciding against signing players through the pre-season Supplemental Selection Period, while Richmond will be eligible for a spot in the draft following Jason Castagna's retirement in February.
Clubs will begin to throw their names into the ring to bring in the best available talent in just over a fortnight, with the Hawks and Eagles likely to be fishing in the same pond for their desired prospect.
The Hawks have lacked a key forward presence outside of Mitch Lewis this year, while in-form Eagle Oscar Allen has booted more than a quarter of West Coast's majors this year, with his 24 goals from nine games more than double the next best at the club in Jack Darling and Jake Waterman at 10 each.
Wanting to sharpen their speartips through the Mid-Season Draft, both Hawthorn and West Coast are likely to have a pair of leading tall forwards on their radar as the count nears.
WAFL forward Jack Buller and Gippsland talent Ryan Maric are among the leading names for this year's Mid-Season Draft, having pieced together strong starts to their respective 2023 campaigns.
Buller has booted eight goals from his four appearances for Claremont this season, with the 21-year-old's biggest test yet coming this week as Western Australia and South Australia clash in their annual state game.
The 199cm, 99kg forward will face the SANFL's best defenders at Adelaide Oval on Friday afternoon to potentially strengthen his chance as the first overall pick.
Maric, who has already been linked with the Eagles, was trialled at either end of the ground for both of the Young Guns' two recent appearances against Vic Metro and Vic Country, presenting as a forward threat in his first outing before being called up in defence against Vic Country.
After a break in the Coates Talent League, Maric will make his return for the Gippsland Power this weekend against the Western Jets as he looks to improve on his prolific start to the year as a top-age prospect.
Maric has booted eight goals from his three appearances in the competition while averaging 19 disposals, 6.7 marks and 4.7 inside 50s per game as an athletic forward.
The 18-year-old is undersized compared to Buller, offering more mobility while the Tigers forward is seen as more of a contested aerial threat in attack.
The Hawks could lean toward Maric to form a best-of-both-worlds partnership alongside the big-bodied Mitch Lewis, while the Eagles may prefer the local talent in Buller, who would be able to work closely under Darling while also offering a balance of power and athleticism in a partnership with Allen.
Outside of the promising forward pair, leading VFL names Ryley Stoddart, Shaun Mannagh and Ethan Stanley could be in consideration, with Stanley potentially another Box Hill Hawk to earn an elite-level contract at Waverley.
The Hawks have previously recruited Jai Newcobe and James Blanck through the Mid-Season Draft, while Lachie Bramble and Fergus Greene have also remained in the brown and gold while earning promotions with the Hawks.
The outside runner was another standout for the Young Guns across their recent showcase matches.
The 2023 Mid-Season Draft will take place remotely on Wednesday, May 31.