At stumps on the first day of the four-day match on Sunday, Victoria were 48 for one in reply to South Australia's 225 -- a surprisingly low total on what looked like a very good batting wicket.
If Victoria take the two points for a first-innings win, they will be in a very strong position to earn the home-ground advantage in next month's final.
With the pitch providing few demons, Victoria also have a good chance to bat South Australia out of the match and push for a six-point outright win which would make an home final a certainty.
Matthew Elliott, 23 not out, and Brad Hodge on 22 will look to build on their prosperous seasons for Victoria on Monday.
South Australian captain Darren Lehmann won the toss and batted, but his side was in immediate trouble as bowlers Mathew Inness and Allan Wise skittled the visitors' top order.
Inness, who finished with 2-45, had opener Shane Deitz caught in the slips on the second ball of the day for a duck and soon had Greg Blewett caught driving to point for four.
Andrew McDonald dismissed Lehmann for 21 and with both South Australia's danger men gone, it was left to debutant Ben Cameron to provide the resistance.
He did for a while with a polished 54, but Wise, who took 3-45, had him caught behind right on lunch to put Victoria in command.
Melbourne (day one): South Australia 225 (M Miller 84, B Cameron 54; A Wise 3-45, M Inness 2-44) v Victoria 48-1 (M Elliott 23 n o, B Hodge 22 n o, P. Rofe 1-25).
Tasmania's victory bid against WA fails