HUDDERSFIELD Giants go into Super League battle at leaders Leeds Rhinos tomorrow night (8.00) without six of their top men.
Missing for the Giants will be club captain Darren Fleary, vice captain Darren Turner, and the in-form Stanley Gene, Paul March, Paul Reilly and Ben Roarty.
All six are carrying knocks, and head coach Jon Sharp is clearly not prepared to risk them ahead of the Challenge Cup semi-final clash against St Helens on Sunday week.
Fleary has a groin strain, Turner is struggling with his back and a knee knock and Gene has a sore calf.
March struggled throughout the Easter programme with a foot injury, while Reilly's troublesome ankle flared up again and Roarty has suffered a recurrence of the foot injury which kept him out of the Good Friday win over Salford.
Furthermore, back-rower Roarty suffered a head wound at Wakefield which required eight stitches.
Their absences have handed a golden opportunity to the likes of forwards Matthew Whittaker and Jonathan Grayshon, who will make their first Super League appearances of the season.
It will also be the chance for full-back Ben Cooper and hooker Phil Joseph to stake claims for more regular starts.
But it is the non-appearance in front of the Sky TV cameras tomorrow night of six of the Giants' most influential players that is the main talking point.
"I know these absences will be a focus of attention," said Sharp.
"But, unfortunately, I half expected that at this stage in the season we would have a few players missing.
"My initial feeling after the win over Wakefield on Monday was that we had escaped relatively lightly and all the boys looked to be in good shape.
"But as the week has gone on, it's become apparent some of the boys aren't as fresh as I would have liked.
"It's obvious the punishing match against Wigan, followed by the Easter games against Salford and Wakefield, have taken their toll.
"Some of the boys clearly need to take a break to rest their aching limbs, and hopefully come back stronger the following week.
"But this doesn't mean I now regard tomorrow night as a lost cause, far from it.
"I'm still able to pick a side with bags of Super League experience. I have complete faith in them all."