In a major blow for the defending Blowes Clothing Cup premiers, Orange Emus will travel to Cowra without in-form winger Harry Cummins after he was ruled out of Saturday's clash with a hamstring complaint.
After an explosive start in last weekend's local derby against Orange City, Cummins was forced from the field in the opening half and left to watch on as the new competition leaders dismantled the Lions in a convincing, 21-point victory.
While the injury isn't overly serious Cummins is expected to miss at least a couple of games, a frustrating casualty considering he'd hit arguably his best form since joining the club in 2019 throughout the first month of the season.
"Harry's been in serious form, he picked up a hat-trick in round three and was huge in the initial stages of last weekend's game, so it's certainly a loss but here's hoping he'll be back sooner rather than later," Emus co-captain Charlie Henley said.
"He's been stuck into recovery work and I'm sure he'll find that form again quickly once he's back."
Cummins' injury does open the door for 20-year-old flyer Jake Ritchie, who has been named to make his debut after impressing in the pre-season and then stunning Bathurst Bulldogs' reserve grade side in round one.
He was sidelined for a fortnight after picking up a nasty gash to his shin in that game though, returning with a double last weekend as the greens' second XV took down Orange City to remain undefeated on top of the table.
"It's exciting for Jake, he's definitely been on the radar all season and we're really looking forward to seeing how he handles the step up this weekend," Henley said.
"He was excellent in round one against Bulldogs and just as strong against Orange City last week, so we've all seen the potential he has. He's picked up the systems and style of play quickly too.
"He's just a natural player and competitor, we've got complete faith in him."
Should Ritchie light up Cowra Rugby Ground it will pose an unenviable prospect for Emus coach Pete Bromley. Although, he's no stranger to that situation considering the depth the greens have boasted in recent years.
"I'd hate to be Pete, or any of our coaches, when they're sitting down to pick teams each week because we are blessed to have a lot of depth, particularly through our backline this year," Henley said.
"Being one club is very much a part of Emus' culture, but there's a lot of competition for spots and that's a good thing. When there's guys banging the door down no one's place is ever guaranteed.
"It's difficult for the coaches, but it's a good problem to have. Kick-off is scheduled for 3.15pm.