Rochester and Shepparton United will do battle at Moon Oval tomorrow, but it could be the players who do not take the field that decide the clash.
The Tigers and Demons have casualty wards full to the brim with injured stars and it will be up to the second tier to stand up and be counted.
Rochester will miss Sam Brennan (back), Perry Oliver (hamstring) and Kane Moroney (shoulder) after the trio suffered injuries in last week’s loss to Seymour, while Heath Aitken and Dylan Cuttriss are unlikely to feature as they continue to recover from serious concussion.
The saving grace for James Flaherty’s side is that guns Steven Stroobants and Nathan Marrone are back from Victoria Country duties.
‘‘That’s a big couple of ins,’’ he said.
‘‘They are two quality players, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to represent Victoria Country.
‘‘One area we were probably a bit short in last week was the midfield, so they’ll probably slot back in there.’’
Shepparton United’s injury woes are also mounting.
Matt Waight has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the rest of the season, while Luke Lowden (hamstring), Matt Spangher (hamstring) and Jack Norman (quadriceps) are also out.
Coach Peter Sheehan believed a large number of matches in a row had worn his side out.
‘‘I think our development was really good for the first third of the season, but it has slowed a bit and I think it is two-fold,’’ he said.
‘‘Injuries to our senior group haven’t helped, but I just think this 12-game stretch doesn’t work at all, especially for our kids. We’re starting to hit a brick wall a bit.
‘‘We haven’t got much choice though, so it is what it is.’’