The Dubbo Demons will travel to Bathurst this weekend to take on the Outlaws, but coach Will Bunt doesn’t look at which Bushrangers team he is playing.
That’s partly because he knows both will be tough, but also because he expects to see the same players regardless.
Bunt accused the Bushrangers of switching players around in teams to suit themselves
“I don’t really look at which [Bushrangers] team we are playing. They supposedly do a draft at the start of the season to determine which players go to which team but then those players end up in both teams,” Bunt said.
“It’s hard to have faith in an internal draft when you play one of their teams one week and then a couple of weeks later you play the other team and see the same faces.
“It’s great that they have enough players to fill two teams but they manipulate things to suit themselves.”
The Demons and Outlaws will play at 12.30pm, and Bunt was unhappy with the decision to make the game earlier.
“With Saturday’s game, they are doing a double header. Three of the Bathurst teams are playing and us,” he said.
“We’re playing in the early game. We have some players who are unavailable because they are working that morning and can’t get over to Bathurst in time.”
After having to deal with more than 15 players unavailable for selection in their last few games, Bunt hoped the situation would get better but it has actually gotten worse.
On Saturday, the Demons have at least 24 players out of the match because of injuries, work and family commitments
Bunt said it would be a miracle if his team had a full complement on the park, let alone plays on the bench.
Among those who will be missing for the away team are captain Hamish Pearce and key player Bevan Charleton-White, leaving the coach with some selection headaches.
“At best it is 24 who are unavailable. I have given four guys until the last minute to see if they can play so at worst it could be 28,” Bunt said.
It’s a disappointing way for the Demons to back up their first win of the season, a gutsy 8-9-57 to 6-15-51 win against Parkes, that saw them come from 23 points down at three-quarter time for the win.
“It was a game of two halves, we weren’t good enough in the first half but in the second half we defended when the wind was against us and made the most of it when it was at our backs,” Bunt said.
“We attacked well but I thought our defence was superb and allowed us to get back into the match.”
The coach said it made it extremely difficult for combinations to form.
Kick-off for the match is 12.30pm.