THE Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles will put their perfect record on the line this Sunday when they face fierce rivals the Shellharbour Sharks at Centenary Field.
"The match against Shellharbour is one everyone at our club looks forward to," said Eagles skipper Josh Sainsbury.
"Ever since I started playing for the club, I've been told this is the best game of the year to play in, so I have no doubt all the boys will be up for the occasion come Sunday.
"Regardless of what era it is, you know you're in for a big challenge when you step on the field for an Eagles and Sharks clash."
Through their opening two rounds, the Eagles ground out wins against Stingrays and Berry-Shoalhaven Heads, before last weekend's clash with Warilla-Lake South was washed out and postponed until September 27.
This has the whole Eagles squad up and about, as they chase their first 3-0 start since 2012 - when the club won their last first grade premiership.
"The whole squad, from Jonesy and Jono [Ian Jones and Steve Johnson], down to the playing group are feeling really happy at where we are at," Sainsbury, who highlighted how much Tom and Ben Warner have brought to the side's forward pack, said.
"It's been a stop-start season so far, including the rain last week, but across the board, the competition is as strong as I can ever remember it - you need to turn up each and every week.
"With it being a shortened competition, every win is crucial - I'm confident with our new additions, we can get the job done."
"As soon as Sam gets on the park, he has that aura about him and all the troops listen to him," the Eagles lock forward said.
"He's as influential as a player as I've played with - all of us would run through a brick wall for him.
"I have no doubt he'll want a big game against his former club and teammates on Sunday."
On the flip-side, Sharks forward Ryan McCracken, who missed all of 2019 with a knee injury, is confident his side can rebound from their loss to Gerringong in round two.
"Everyone is saying Gerringong is the top team this year, so to only go down by six points wasn't the worst result because we didn't play anywhere near where we know we are capable of," McCracken said.
"It was a solid test to see where we are at, leading into this weekend against the Park - everyone at our club likes coming up against the top players in the competition.
"This week's no different, as we know the Park have an impressive forward pack, who like to slog it out through the middle.
"If we can match it with their forwards, it will slow down their slick halves [Clune and Jayden Harris] who like to play off the back of their pack - as does the whole dangerous backline.
"We know we have to come to play, against this ever-improving Park side."
The Sharks, who are 1-1 on the season, aren't without their own firepower though, with new additions Matt Forsyth, James Rousell (who are both returning from injury), Brody Rigg and Ed Ansell impressing during the first few rounds.
"Ed's been fantastic since he's arrived at the club - he was our best player easily against Gerringong," McCracken said.
"Same goes with Matt, who's been very vocal every time he steps on the park - you can he's got that footy brain and experience behind him.
"Both of those two are great weapons to have at our disposal and work perfectly off halves Matt Carroll and Nick Greenhalgh.
Elsewhere in round four, on Saturday Gerringong host Kiama at Michael Cronin Oval and Berry-Shoalhaven Heads take on Jamberoo at the Berry Showground.
Then on Sunday, Warilla-Lake South battle Nowra Bomaderry at Cec Glenholmes Oval - with Stingrays having the bye.