BRIDGEWATER is hoping the worst of its luck is behind it as the fifth-placed Mean Machine ready for a key LVFNL netball contest against Marong.
While all teams have been affected by illness, injuries and other absences, the Mean Machine have been particularly hard-hit.
Only once can Bridgewater coach Aimie Brown recall having her first choice seven players at her disposal this season.
In Saturday's win over Pyramid Hill they were missing key players Claudia Collins and Carly Ladson.
The Mean Machine have managed to do well to remain in the five and clearly have the talent to compete with its rivals above, as evidenced by a two-goal loss to second-placed Calivil United and a five-goal loss to Mitiamo in round five.
Brown said the situation had clearly been frustrating, but praised her players for working through the adversity.
"We just can't get any consistency (in the line-up) at the minute. Once we do, I think we will be right," she said.
"We're still being hit by COVID basically every week.
"We have only played once with our our full A-grade side and that was against YC (Maiden Gully YCW). A bit of consistency and I think we will pull it together for the end of the season."
Brown was confident the Mean Machine could make an impact at finals time provided they could get a full squad on the court.
"If we can get our full team training and playing together for a few weeks in a row, I think we'll definitely be up there with a chance," she said.
"We'll just have to see what the season hands us.
"Our goal is to beat some of those teams above us, if we do that, we'll have plenty of confidence going into finals.
"If we have everyone back against Marong we're a chance. We had a close game with Calivil - it was only two goals.
"Even Mitiamo, we hit the lead late and just lost in the end, so there are a couple of teams we are close to.
"We are right there. Win a few of those and we would be in a very different position."
The Mean Machine's clash with Marong, which slipped to fourth after a loss to Maiden Gully YCW, will be against another team hard-hit by absences.
The Panthers suffered a blow in the lead-up to last weekend's match against the Eagles when goaler Bridget Willox went down with an ankle injury in the final minutes of training on Thursday night.
Their misfortune was compounded by another season-ending injury to midcourter/defender Kim Dalton, who was making her return to the court from an ACL injury.
READ MORE: Cruel injury blow guts panthers players
The Panthers were without Tania Kerrison (ill) on Saturday, but they hope she will be available against Bridgewater.
Returns by Collins, who has been the Mean Machine's standout this season, and Ladson would be an undoubted boost to their chances.
After Marong, Bridgewater has an A-grade bye followed by clashes against bottom side Bears Lagoon-Serpentine (July 9) and Calivil United (July 17), before another bye on July 23.
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