Handy bowling from Jayden Mathison and a solid start from its top order has put Moe in a dominant position in its first grade match against Jeeralang-Boolarra.
For both teams this is a must-win match, as the victor will escape a semi-final match-up against league powerhouse Morwell.
Panthers' captain Chris Blake won the toss and chose to bat at Ted Summerton Reserve, with Moe skipper Andrew Philip, who missed last week, getting an early breakthrough by removing Ossy Brennan LBW for four.
Ben McCormack and Nicholas Duncan got the score to 32 before McCormack was caught for 15 off the bowling of Robert Blunt.
Duncan (19) and Mark Rawson (duck) soon followed as the Lions started to take control with the score at 4/51.
Ben Heath and Stanley Urbanic got the score to 71 before the latter was removed by Mathison.
Mathison had Heath LBW for 25 shortly before Kane O'Connell dismissed Craig Blackberry (6).
The visitors were in trouble at 7/84 before some lower-order hitting from Tim Laaks (43) and Matt McGrath (28) helped Jeeralang-Boolarra to 160.
Mathison finished with four wickets and has 25 for the season, sitting fourth on the list of highest first grade wicket-takers this season.
Blunt and Jeremy Butler took two each.
Moe's innings got off to a poor start when McGrath had Justin Mathison out caught for a duck, but Riley Baldi and captain Andrew Philip did their best to get the home team off to a solid start.
Laaks bowled Baldi for 27 but Philip finished the day not out on 26 with O'Connell who is not out on 22.
The Lions finished day one 2/80 needing 81 runs to take first innings points and avoid a semi-final clash with undefeated Morwell.
Morwell v Trafalgar
Trafalgar's top order fired in its match against Morwell on Saturday but it was not enough to hold the CGCA juggernaut at bay.
The Ships won the toss and batted at Morwell Recreation Reserve in the top-versus-bottom clash and got off to a positive start thanks to the efforts of opener Brodie Burgess.
Burgess oversaw the loss of opening partner William Pace for a duck to partner with captain Nick Gurney to take the total to 47 before he was dismissed by Lachlan Day for 35.
Gurney was the next wicket to fall when he was bowled by Blake Mills for 28, leaving the visitors 3/70.
From there keeper Christian Burgess kept the innings ticking over, batting through to the end of the innings.
Christian Burgess made 59 before he was caught behind off the bowling of Mark Cukier.
Mills was the destroyer for the Tigers, taking 4/31 off 17 overs.
Day finished with 3/30 while Harper took 2/44.
Trafalgar got off to a good start with the ball with the dismissal of Craig Giddens for eight but from there Morwell showed why it is the flag favourite, with Cukier and captain Robert Webber piling on the pain.
Webber was the next man out on 57, with the home team 2/128.
Morwell finished the day 2/134 with Cukier not out on 56 and needing just 36 runs to seal an undefeated home-and-away season.
No scores were provided in Latrobe's clash with Mirboo North at Peter Siddle Oval.