PORT Fairy's A Grade netballers are preparing for three weeks that could go a long way to deciding their fate for season 2012.
The Seagulls have lost the first four games of the season, with the latest a 27-22 defeat at the hands of Warrnambool last Saturday at the Gardens Oval courts.
The winless first month comes after the Seagulls were being touted as serious contenders in the lead-up to the season.
They were the Cinderella story last year, making the finals for the first time since 2004 and they had a big pre-season, reaching the semi-finals of the Western Region State League competition.
But a combination of injuries to a number of key players and a tough draw have been factors behind the fruitless first month.
The Seagulls have played the top four teams ? Koroit Cobden, Camperdown and Warrnambool ? but despite having no wins, they are just a game from fifth placed South Warrnambool. Terang Mortlake and North Warrnambool Eagles are in sixth and seventh place with one win.
Port Fairy plays South Warrnambool this weekend with games against Terang Mortlake and North Warrnambool Eagles to follow.
Seagulls coach Nicole Dwyer realises the importance of this block of games.
"To win two out of those three would be great, but to lose them all would be bitterly disappointing," Dwyer said.
"The competition is so even so we need to make sure we are at our best in the next few weeks."
Dwyer said a lack of conversion in goals has been a major headache for her team and a focus would be placed on capitalising on chances when the Seagulls go forward.
The loss of Emily Forrest to a knee reconstruction during the pre-season has hurt the Seagulls' firepower, while new recruit Maddie Dalton has yet to play a game due to illness.
In a further blow, goal keeper Emily Clark will remember her 50th game for the Seagulls for the wrong reasons after she injured her ankle last Saturday with the extent of the damage still to be determined.
While the A grade team is searching for its first win, there is good news in some of the other grades, with both the A1 and A2 teams beating Warrnambool last week.
And in the under 17s, the Seagulls remain undefeated at the top of the ladder.