Eastlake Demons are one of many sporting clubs to have felt the full force of the recent spike in COVID-19 around Canberra and Australia.
Just last week the AFL Canberra side had 14 players missing their victory over the Gungahlin Jets.
Last round was certainly not an anomaly, with players regularly being ruled out due to testing positive for the virus. This has resulted in juniors and lower division players needing to step up, often playing their first game in the top division of their careers.
Eastlake's game against Ainslie at Alan Ray Oval on Sunday will be no different, with coach John Harper expecting mass changes from last round's squad.
These have made it a headache to select the side week in and week out, as well as making it difficult to build any form of consistency or momentum.
"It puts the pressure on the lower grade players to be elevated up. We haven't got our best 22 out on the paddock every week, we are making five to six changes each round," he said.
"Last weekend across first and second grade we made 14 changes. That is a big hole out of your club. It is hard to get any consistency from that."
Even when players exit their mandatory seven-day quarantine period, many are not yet ready to return to play.
Whether that be because they are still feeling the lingering effects of the virus or need a week to get back up to speed with the competition, players can often miss multiple rounds with a positive test.
"Some of the guys have felt like they have been hit by a truck when they come back," he said.
"It isn't like the flu, it affects everyone in all different ways."
Harper has been pleased with the lower-division players who have stepped up in place of the first graders, helping to keep the club inside the top four.
Whilst he believes that a few of the juniors might not have been prepared for the top-flight competition, the coach thinks that they certainly held their own.
"They have been competitive. They may only be there for one or two weeks while the senior players are out, but while they have been there they have given a great account of themselves," he said.
Heading into their round 13 clash against the Ainslie Tricolours, Harper believes that while they may not be able to overtake their opponents on the ladder with the limited amount of games remaining, it is crucial that they start to build momentum heading into the finals.
He hasn't ruled out a push for the premiership either, confident that his team can compete with the best if they can get their full side on the park.
"We have a few players in but we also have some that are underdone. Ainslie have been pretty competitive this season, sitting in first or second most of the year and have only just dropped into third the last few games," he said.
"If over the next few weeks we get everyone back for the finals I think we can cause a couple of upsets if we play our best footy.
"We will probably also play them in the first game of the finals so that will be a real test for us."
Meanwhile, the Magpies thumped the Jets by 75 points on Thursday night at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval - 12.15 (87) to 1.6 (12).
AFL CANBERRA MEN FIRST GRADE ROUND 13
Sunday: Ainslie Tricolours v Eastlake Demons at Alan Ray Oval, 12pm; Queanbeyan Tigers v Tuggeranong Valley at Aulich Park, 2:30pm
AFL CANBERRA WOMEN FIRST GRADE ROUND 13
Friday: Gungahlin Jets v Belconnen Magpies at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval, 7:15pm
Sunday: Ainslie Tricolours v Eastlake Demons at Alan Ray Oval, 2:30pm; Queanbeyan Tigers v Tuggeranong Valley at Aulich Park, 12:45pm
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