It's been a tough few weeks for the Yass Rams.
After an impressive victory over the Braidwood Redbacks at GIO Stadium in round 11, the Rams have had a tough run of losses against the Taralga Tigers (12-59), the Batemans Bay Boars (58-15) and, most recently, the Bungendore Mudchooks (23-12) last weekend.
While these results have done their season no favours, fortune has not favoured the Rams as they have played against three of the strongest teams in the competition, all in a row.
Taralga, who are ranked first, are yet to be beaten this season, while Batemans Bay are fourth on the ladder and Bungendore fifth.
Such is the strength of the competition this year, that Yass have not played badly by any means, but still find themselves in second-last place.
Any of the teams from first to fifth can still make finals, and while the Rams are a slim chance, they would need a miraculous reversal of fortune to leapfrog Braidwood, Bungendore, and Batemans Bay.
This weekend, Yass will have the opportunity to begin that reversal against the Crookwell Dogs.
Crookwell has enjoyed an extended revival of its own. After three losses to start the season, the Dogs have won nine of their last 11 matches.
The second loss in that period came last weekend, against the Tigers. So while the Dogs are technically coming off a loss, Saturday marked the only time any side has restricted Taralga to less than 30 points, when Crookwell went down by two points, 12-10.
While the Rams will enjoy the home-ground advantage this weekend, it has not proven particularly beneficial so far this season.
Of Yass's five wins, three have come at home (counting GIO Stadium as a home game), with two away. Its losses also balance out, with four at home and five away.
The key factor will be Yass's ability to maintain their scoring throughout the match.
Over the course of the season, the Rams have often performed strongly in the first half of their games, only to fall away in the second.
Under coach Bruce Nixon, Crookwell are a well-drilled and very fit side, so it be a good test of Yass's ability to work for the whole match.
With only three rounds left in the competition before finals, the Rams will need not only their own results, but almost every other match, to fall in their favour if they are to crack the top four.
Fans can expect a physical, aggressive, and competitive match between the two teams.
The match between the Yass Rams and the Crookwell Dogs will take place from 2.30pm at Victoria Park on Saturday July 20.