Almost five months after the season started, clubs will once again field close to their strongest teams heading into the weekend's final round.
The Murray Bushrangers are away to Greater Western Victoria Rebels on Sunday.
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The under 18 competition is unique in that leading players are often unavailable due to school football and representative commitments, apart from the first three games.
"And even then you're still trying to work out who's who in the zoo at that stage and where everyone fits," Bushies' coach Mark Brown said.
"By now, you've got a good idea of that and then your top-end talent comes back in if you rely heavily on the schoolkids, we're not as effected as the likes of Sandringham, Oakleigh and so forth."
The Bushies have three players back from the Young Guns representative game in Myrtleford's Dom Bedendo, Zavier Maher (Shepparton) and Albury's Charlie Byrne, while Ben Kelly returns from injury.
Maher and Harry Beasley are the two players back from private school football.
Mooroopna's Tom Brown will also debut after a superb season at under 16 level with the Bushies and Victoria Country.
The Bushies will be missing the classy Zane Barzen though as he lines up for his second game for Greater Western Sydney in the NEAFL, while Jay Hillary, Will Bowden and Ned Pendergast return to club football.
Defender Hillary made his debut for Albury against Yarrawonga at senior level last weekend.
The Bushies head into the final round in ninth spot, with a six-eight record, while the Rebels are 11th (five-nine).
"They've had some good wins, they're similar to us, our last six weeks has been really strong," Brown said.
After the final game, the league enters the wildcard round.
It's designed to cater for those Melbourne teams who have long stints without private school players and therefore might not finish as high on the ladder.
The top three sit out the wildcard round, moving automatically through to the second week.
Teams four through to 13 meet each other, with the highest placed outfit facing the lowest rated team and so on.
The five winners from those games move through to the top eight system.
It remains sudden death, with the minor premiers facing the eighth-placed side, two facing seven, three v six and four against five.
The Bushies could finish as high as seventh, but they must win and hope Northern Knights and Dandenong fall.
The Bushies haven't played for three weeks, smashing Western Jets on July 27.