THE Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels' list of injuries is growing out of control and that's not what the club wants to see ahead of one of Central West AFL's toughest away fixtures.
Rebels face Dubbo Demons this Saturday and the Bathurst club will need big performances across the park to return home with maximum points given the talent which will be stuck on the sidelines.
Demons gave Rebels a big scare in the opening round at George Park and will undoubtedly find another level in the return leg at South Dubbo Oval.
Rebels co-coach Matt Archer is under no illusions that this Saturday's game will apply the pressure on his squad in a big way.
"I'm not too sure what to expect going over there. From the team we drafted at the start of the year compared to now it's a completely different looking side," he said.
"Dubbo are a bit unpredictable as well so it should be an interesting game.
"We're still very confident and everyone has got a lot of trust in each other. We seem to keep getting the job done and everyone seems to have bought into the game.
"The injuries haven't really hurt us yet so that's a big positive."
Dan Cross (shoulder) and Tom Regan (hamstring) are two key losses from the Rebels' backline.
Andrew James (knee), Tom Murphy (collarbone), Lachlan Phillips (ankle) add to a growing injury list.
However, with every casualty the team picks up, the healthy Rebels men have upped their game to compensate.
"Our depth is getting a big workout but players are stepping up to a level that we didn't know they have," Archer said.
"That's putting us in good stead. Everyone's getting a good workout but at the moment you wouldn't even know we've got those injuries because everyone's playing such good footy."
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Rebels enter this game off a gritty two-point derby win over the Outlaws.
Dubbo couldn't quite keep pace with Orange Tigers last week in a 35-point loss but they were without star forward Bevan Charlton-White.
Should he make his return he will be one of several players for the Rebels to try and contain.
"They've got a few good, key forwards. Bevan's probably the best key forward in the competition this year and he's very hard to stop," Archer said.
"They have another couple of tall targets so they're hard to match up on. There's not many teams who have three or four key back men to go with them.
"The main thing is trying to stop their forwards while their midfield is really tough and physical. You can't them bully you around in there, otherwise it's hard to get control of the football.
"We've got to be up for that battle. If Harry Bowden can get first use of the ball for us out of the ruck then that helps us get it forward."
This will be a crucial game for the Rebels in order to build up momentum for a three-game stretch of home fixtures.
Saturday's game at South Dubbo Oval starts from 2.30pm.