Kurri Weston captain Tyler Power says victory in their match against Thornton was critical for both sides' chances of playing semi-finals this season.
"It's a huge game for us, we've been saying all week if we don't win this then semi-finals are pretty much gone," Power said.
"Thornton have got a pretty good top six or seven so it's not going to be easy. It's a massive game for us."
The game is evenly poised with neither side able to deliver a knockout blow on day one.
Kurri Weston were all out in the 64th over for 282 and Thunder will resume on day two at 2/78.
Power said an outstanding debut century by Steve Abel was the highlight of the day for the Warriors
"Stevie Abel was sensational, he's been in good form all year and was pretty determined to get his first century," Power said.
"We probably left a few (runs) out there to be honest . We were looking at 320 at one stage but we lost 4-10 at the end.
"When we came out Johno Gabriel took us apart, but once we got him out it's a pretty even game now I think.
"Matt Gabriel coming off a 100 is probably the big wicket for us on Saturday. If we can knock him over early we should be right.
"We've got big Dylan Rumble coming in this week and he'll start with Jack Sylvester."
All-rounder Rumble has had to relocate to Port Macquarie and is travelling back for matches when possible.
He is averaging 2.5 wickets a match including a best of 5-20 against Tenambit Morpeth Bulls.
"When he (Rumble) plays I think he is probably in the best couple of opening bowlers in the comp.
"He will be a handful on that wicket, it's offering a bit out at Kurri Central this year."
Power said Rumble's opening bowling partner, teenager Jack Sylvester was a genuine wicket-taker who was only going to get better.
"I think when the penny drops for him about how good he can be I think he can be anything," Power said.
"Young blokes are always experimenting with the ball, you know what they're like. If he can just run in and bowl fast he is always a handful.
"Dylan and Jack will start for us and if we can get one or two early wickets we will be right on top."
In other games on the weekend, Eastern Suburbs will need early wickets against Raymond Terrace as they try to defend 238 at King Park 1. Tenambit Morpeth are in the match after dismissing City for 235 on a tricky wicket and Norths are chasing 297 against Wests at Coronation Oval.