NELSON BAY coach Michael Wiringi is expecting a fired up Wanderers in their Hunter Rugby Union catch-up game at No.2 Sportsground on Tuesday night despite the Two Blues losing five players to injury.
Fly-half Luke Simmons (torn pec), Billy Coffey (hamstring) and Charlie Bennett (hamstring) went down in Wanderers' 19-7 loss to Merewether on Saturday.
Tackle-busting centre Nimi Qio (knee) and tireless lock Will Archer (neck) have been added to the casualty list.
Nelson Bay had no such hiccups in their 29-7 victory over Singleton, which leapfrogged the Gropers (24 points) above Wanderers (23) into fourth spot.
"I replaced a lot of our big guns quite early," Wiringi said. "Adam Edwards, Chad Northcott and those guys got an early spell with this match in mind.
"I watched the first half of the Wanderers' game [on video] and saw Simmo and Billy Coffey go off. Their pack is still pretty solid. Their ball carriers run hard and fight in the tackle. If we are not there to match them, they will run over us. They are a strong club and the guys that come in will lift."
Halfback Charles Fielder returns from an ankle issue for Nelson Bay, but recent arrival Tute Grant has departed to take up a contract in Romania.
For Wanderers, Marcus Christensen (away) and Dillon Rowney (knee) return while Danny Murch has been promoted.
"Marcus, Dillon and Murchy are all experienced players," Wanderers coach Dan Beckett said. "It will be a big test. Nelson Bay are in form. It will be like a semi-final for us."
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