A BATHURST derby in the AFL Central West women's competition is a tough enough assignment on its own but taking part in one without your three regular team leaders is a whole different sort of challenge.
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It's one that the Bathurst Giants have to face this Saturday as they look to claim a third successive derby victory over the Bathurst Bushrangers this season, this time without the support of Katie Kennedy, Elise Gullifer and Hailee Taylor.
The leadership trio are all unavailable for this edition of the derby, bringing Tamara Thompson and Olivia Johnston into co-captaincy duties.
With the experience of Thompson and Johnston they would no doubt be strong candidates for regular captaincy honours at any other club, which goes a long way towards demonstrating the depth at the Giants right now.
The duo are keen to see what their side can bring this Saturday at George Park 1.
"Injuries have hurt us with our core leadership group. Those are pretty big loses. There's two of our key forwards who are among the top goalscorers for the comp and then there's Katie who has been fearless captain now for four years," Thompson said.
"We have depth. We know how to rally as a team, no matter what the situation is."
"Hopefully we'll still a strong side out on the weekend. Depth is a great thing with this team. No matter who's out we always feel that we can still put forward a strong team," Johnston said.
"We still have such a good foundation. We're very lucky in that respect."
Giants come into the derby off an encouraging 14 point comeback win over the Dubbo Demons, avenging their defeat from the previous meeting.
That loss did come at a cost, with both Taylor and Amanda Scrivenor picking up injuries, though the way the Giants saved their best for when it mattered was encouraging for Thompson to see.
"We had a really tough, hard fought win at Dubbo. We got a second wind in that fourth quarter, especially in that last five to 10 minutes. Hailee played pretty much the whole game with a broken hand and then we lost Amanda to a nasty knee injury but we managed to rally," she said.
"Dubbo were confident, because they'd beaten us before the long weekend, but we really did not want to lose that game and I think that showed towards the end of it."
Giants won the first derby of the year by 39 points and then two weeks later ran out 90 point victors when the Bathurst sides met again.
"We always expect the Bushies to come out firing. Saturday won't be any different from any other derby," Johnston said.
"They'll have a bit of an upper hand, seeing how many players we have out, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens on the day."
First bounce will be at 12.30pm.
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