In a competition as close as the Upper Mid North Coast rugby union appears to be in 2021, a team's luck when it comes to injuries could be the defining factor.
Port Macquarie Pirates are currently facing their own injury crisis ahead of Saturday's clash with Southern Cross University Marlins.
Their casualty ward includes Jack Maunder, Elia Glassie, Riley Davidson and Duncan Ballantine although Rhys Martin returns this weekend.
Coach Marc Minor is confident about what the club has coming through the lower grades.
"We've got good depth and at the moment it's a matter of relying on depth. They know what is expected," he said.
"We're not at the bottom of the barrel ... I haven't had to pull the boots on yet."
Pirates suffered their first defeat of the season at Coffs Harbour last weekend although the match did finish with both teams scoring two tries.
Goalkicking proved the difference.
"I think the competition is pretty close; every game will be a tough one," Minor said.
"At the moment every team is equal, every team is managing expectations and injuries throughout the year so that they're in a position to go through to the semis."
First grade kicks off at 3.15pm at Stuart Park.
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