The Tuggeranong Bushrangers have flipped their season upside down. Sitting near the foot of the competition ladder in late June, they have risen on the back of having consistently healthy and fit players.
The south-side club is within touching distance of the fixture every other club and player dreams of being involved in at season's end - the grand final of the Canberra Raiders Cup.
However, first and foremost, it must defeat the Queanbeyan Kangaroos in an all-important elimination preliminary final.
For the first time in recent seasons player and coach Jarrad Teka believes his team is finally succeeding in evading major injury dramas.
''If you can stay fresh and keep the same players in the same positions, then you're halfway there,'' Teka said.
The Bushrangers, who are enjoying a three-match winning streak, will be near full strength with all squad players coming through last weekend's semi-final unscathed against Belconnen United Scholars.
Teka said the superb maintenance of his players week in week out had been one of the biggest contributing factors to the Bushrangers' success. ''We had 26 blokes on the sideline at one stage last season and our lines kept changing. We couldn't keep our nine, six, seven, or one. Obviously if you lose them you have to have five or six combinations throughout the year,'' Teka explained.
In contrast this season has been a different story considerably with the Bushrangers being able to build key momentum in vital positions that was missing in previous seasons. They have also enjoyed invaluable assistance from their Canberra Raiders U20 hooker Josh Mitchell since the first round.
''He goes off with the Raiders 20s to get that experience and then comes back to us and injects it into the game … he's been one of the driving forces for us all season,'' Teka confirmed.
The last time the two teams played the Bushrangers came out on top 24-20 in round 14. ''I think they were coming off a hangover from the Blues, who they beat the week before [14-12],'' Teka said. ''I think that took a lot out of them so they may have taken us lightly. They'll be coming with a bit more intensity [this weekend].''
The Bushrangers will travel away to Freebody Oval in Kangaroo territory on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is 3pm.