Lake Albert premiership player Matt Menser left to coach Henwood Park in the off-season, and since his departure, his new team has thrived and his old team has remained a powerhouse.
Henwood Park, a club that finished fifth in 2016, leads the Pascoe Cup competition.
On Sunday, for the first time, Menser will play against his former team in the top of the table clash.
Pride is on the line for Henwood Park, yet to drop a game, and Lake Albert, rallying for top spot.
Menser admitted he’s nervous about the match, and is aiming for a draw.
“At least if we get a point it’ll be an improvement on last year,” he said.
“Lake Albert’s the benchmark.
“We still haven’t played the teams that came first and second last year, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves before we get a good gauge of the competition.”
Lake Albert coach Michael Babic seemed less fazed than Menser.
“It’s just a game,” he said.
“It’s a nice, added bonus if we do win, we go to the top of the table.”
The teams train side by side at Rawlings Park, and the coaches had a friendly exchange this week.
Babic believes Menser, once an insider, has the upper hand in a way.
“He probably knows our team better than I do,” Babic said.
“It’ll be interesting coaching against him, I’m interested to see what he’s going to come up with to nullify our attack.”
In saying that, Babic doubts Henwood Park will prevent them from scoring.
“Attack’s never been a concern,” he said.
“We’ve never been kept scoreless in the time I’ve been coaching, it’s about how well we defend.”
Lake Albert keeper Mitchell Tinnock’s injured and nowhere near a comeback, and so former Wagga City Wanderers keeper Aaron Thomas will play in goals.
“He’s just stepping up for the important games,” Babic said.
“We’ll have to defend well, they have some good, attacking weapons.”
Thomas and Lake centre backs Ben Angel and Ben Mavor will work to keep Henwood’s Jake Ploenges, Menser, Carl Pideski and Sam Thompson at bay.
Meanwhile in the Pascoe Cup, Cootamundra hosts Tolland at O’Connor Park on Sunday. Both teams will be hungry to recover from losses in round six. Wagga United, on a high from the team’s maiden win, will travel to face Tumut on Sunday. Resource-short Junee and Young face-off at Gus Smith Oval on Sunday. And on Saturday at 7.30pm, South Wagga will meet Leeton United at the Showgrounds.