Coach Harmonie Attwill knows Newcastle Olympic cannot afford another slow start in a top-of-the-table clash against Broadmeadow at Magic Park on Sunday.
Magic and Olympic lead the Herald Women's Premier League standings with 28 points heading into the penultimate round. Olympic, who are first with a superior goal difference, came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 the last time they met.
"We have to be consistent in that first half," Attwill said. "After we have our half-time talk we always regroup and come back firing but we need to do that from the start.
"If Magic were up 2-0 in this particular game, I don't think they'd let that slip. We've got to be more determined from the beginning. But we haven't shied away from the challenge this year, so I can't imagine that being any different this weekend. It will be a good test. It will be a challenge but we definitely welcome that."
Both teams will be at full strength and are evenly matched across the park.
Magic coach Jake Curley believes the game will come down to finishing.
"We're both pretty attacking sides, so I think whoever takes their chances will probably win this game," Curley said. "If we play our game we're pretty good but it just depends if everyone shows up on the weekend."
Fourth-placed Warners Bay (21) and third-placed Merewether (27) meet at Arthur Edden Oval on Sunday while Mid Coast, fifth on 19 points, look to keep alive their finals hopes with a win over Adamstown (13) at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility. Thornton (0) host New Lambton (4) at Thornton Park.