THE resurgent Grafton Tigers make the long road trip to Port Macquarie to take on the rebuilding Magpies in the feature match of AFL North Coast round three.
Grafton are on a roll after consecutive wins which have set both the tone and expectation for the remainder of the season
Amidst the optimism and enthusiasm, the playing group has set lofty goals for 2020 and are working hard to ensure they don't fall short.
The team will have a slightly different look to it this week, with several senior players expected to be rested and not on the bus heading south.
However, winning form is drawing players out of the woodwork and the Tigers will be disappointed to leave Port Macquarie with anything less than a win.
Magpies coach Blake Nelson sat up and took notice of the Tigers' impressive win over Coffs Harbour last week.
He knows his team will have to be near their best to register the first win of 2020.
"It's no easy task knocking off Coffs and they came back from a couple of goals down to do it so that's very impressive; you can't ignore that," he said.
"It's a big statement."
The Pies struggled in attack in the opening round, but the addition of Sam Johnson and Ryan Barnett to this week's side should help their cause.
"SJ is back in and he's kicked heaps of goals for the footy club over time so that's a big inclusion to our forward line," Nelson said.
"It's probably an area we struggling in the first game - our attacking options - and being able to score freely.
"Ryan Barnett is a handy tall player who will assist in our ruck stocks and provide another option up forward as well."
The Magpies put up a strong performance in round one considering the almost complete overhaul the playing roster has experienced since appearing in the 2019 grand final.
They need to gain experience playing together so that combinations can further develop, so the round two bye won't have done them any favours.
The long away trip is never easy, but the Tigers seem to have drawn the Magpies at the best possible moment.
However, Port are never easily beaten on their home patch, and will be keen to turn Wayne Richards Park into a fortress, starting with a win on Saturday.