BATHURST Giants go into their second Central West AFL men's meeting against the Bathurst Bushrangers in as many weeks with a strong idea of what to expect from their cross-city rivals, though they'll be under the pump with several absentees.
Giants know they'll be in for a test against the Bushrangers after going down at home in the opening round at fortnight ago, and they remain on the hunt for their first win following a wet and muddy loss against the Dubbo Demons.
There were enough positive signs in that derby defeat for the Giants to know they're capable of besting their rivals on a good day, especially with the way they finished off that game in the midfield.
And perhaps with more damp weather coming on the radar this weekend it could give the Giants some assistance.
In previous years the Giants have utilised their speed as a useful edge against other clubs but coach Mark Kennedy feels the club are starting to hit their straps in the realm of physicality.
"Last week was hard to gauge due to the weather. We had a dry track on our home ground against the Bushrangers then a wet track over in Dubbo. It'll probably be a bit damp on the weekend, which could suit us," he said.
"It could slow down play a bit and make things a bit more physical for us. I think our guys really enjoy the physicality.
"We just need the right personnel on the track at the one time, which is always a challenge getting that best team together on the paddock. I've got confidence that we can compete and that's all we want to be able to do."
Giants stayed in touch with Bushrangers over the opening half of their round one clash before their opponents started to put the game away with fast play down both edges.
In the following trip to face the Demons the Giants never truly lost sight of their rivals on the scoreboard in the 18-point defeat but couldn't piece their attack together.
They come back to Bathurst looking for that spark in attack across all four quarters and not just in patches.
But adding to the difficulty level is the absence of several Giants players.
Kennedy said he'll do some shuffling but has the depth at enough positions to maintain confidence in his side.
"It's unfortunate but we'll set the side up by looking at a few of those structures we had in place at Dubbo and we'll go from there," he said.
"I still think that the key to winning the game will be in those centre clearances."
That was more evident than ever in the previous clash against the Bushrangers where Giants started to find their rhythm in the final term.
I still think that the key to winning the game will be in those centre clearances.Mark Kennedy
The Giants starting winning those clearances and asserting themselves through the middle of the park.
That effort didn't translate on the score sheet but it didn't go unnoticed by the coach.
"We've really worked hard on those clearances and also around the ground at stoppages, and how we can nullify their outside run," he said.
"We've been practising hard at it, it's just about implementing in the game what we've worked on during the week."
Giants and Bushrangers will be facing each other over three of the opening five rounds
First bounce this Saturday is at 2.30pm on George Park 2.