Two of South Bendigo's most influential players face an extended period on the sidelines.
Key midfielders Cooper Leon and Liam Byrne will undergo surgery on finger and back injuries respectively - putting a major dent in the Bloods' finals hopes.
Leon, the reigning club best and fairest winner, suffered his injury while attempting a tackle at training.
Byrne, the Bloods' best clearance player, was injured in South's loss to Gisborne a fortnight ago.
"Cooper Leon has a tear in a ligament in his finger and he'll have surgery,'' South Bendigo coach Nathan Horbury said.
"He'll miss a fair chunk of the season.
"Liam Byrne had a pretty big collision in the Gisborne game and he has some fluid in his back that requires surgery.
"Liam is a doctor, so he knows a lot more about it than we do...he said it's not too serious, but we're not sure how long it will take for him to recover.
"It's a shame, it seems it's always your better players that get injured. We're not the only club in this position, so there's no point whining about it."
Read more: Gisborne star shines in VFL
Read more: Rochester back in Bendigo footy ranks
The timing couldn't be worse for the Bloods, who have a date with the powerful Strathfieldsaye Storm at the QEO on Saturday.
The Bloods will also be without wingman Wil McCaig because of illness.
"Hopefully, a few of the boys can step up in their absence,'' Horbury said.
"Strathfieldsaye is a quality side, but we're hoping we can play our brand of footy and do well against them on our home ground.
"We won't change the way we play just because we have a few players out. We'll stick to our brand and, hopefully, the players that come in can play their role."
An against the odds win over the Storm would be a bonus for the Bloods, who have a 3-3 record through six games, and have matches to come against Kangaroo Flat and Maryborough to round out the first half of the season.
"It would be huge for us if we could pinch the Strathfieldsaye game,'' Horbury said.
"We'd be really well set-up for a good crack at the second half of the season."
While the Bloods have lost some star power - the Storm have regained leading goalkicker Lachlan Sharp.
The left-footer hasn't played since injuring his groin against Gisborne in round five.
Riley Wilson and Riley Clarke also return from injuries for the Storm's second trip to the QEO this season.
The Storm have dominated the Bloods over the past decade.
In their past 17 encounters, the Storm have won 16 and the other clash was a draw.
The average margin in those 16 wins was 70.6 points.
South's last win against Strathfieldsaye was in round seven of the 2012 season.
2.20pm Saturday at QEO
B: D.Johnstone, C.Taggert, Z.Hare
HB: I.Miller, B.Torpey, A.van Heumen
C: S.Maher, O.White, W.McCaig
HF: B.Harvey, M.Herlihy, S.Langley
F: A.Smith, W.Keck, K.Antonowicz
R: W.Allen, N.Horbury, J.Connolly
Int: D.McMahon, J.Sheahan, R.Harvey, J.Sheean, L.Furness
B: J.Schischka, B.Slater, B.Lester
HB: J.Neylon, L.Ratcliffe, J.Mayes
C: S.Geary, L.Gill, J.Moorhead
HF: C.Sheahan, P.Blandford, D.Clohesy
F: J.Hall, R.Wilson, L.Sharp
R: T.Hosking, T.Bennett, M.Hallinan
Int: R.Clarke, J.Formosa, K.Geary, F.Payne, B.Hore, C.Ernst
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.