Underbank Rangers must make a big pack reshuffle for Saturday’s National Conference Premier trip to Thatto Heath.

Coach Richard Knight has lost six of his starters from their last outing – a 30-16 home loss to leaders Hunslet Club Parkside – including Matty Byatt who is returning to Australia.

The 25-year-old Byatt is signing for Albury Thunder, where his brother Robbie plays.

The Byatts were strong performers for Tumbarumba before the team went into recess due to a lack of numbers.

Nick Briggs is another leaving the club, this time to join Lock Lane in Castleford, who play in the National Conference Division One.

Sam Rochford, Jordan Williams and debutant prop Thomas Booth are all on holiday and unavailable, while second rower Dave Pawson is out suffering a suspected medial ligament knee injury.

“These lads are all among our usual starters, so we are up against it a bit,” said Knight.

“We are obviously going to have to promote from the second team, and there are a couple of lads who are maybe a week or so from being fully fit who may now have to pull on their boots and give it a go.

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“It could be that the second team have to postpone their game, so we might even press their coach, Lee St Hilaire, our captain from 10 years ago, back into action.

“We are in a bit of a tricky situation, and it kind of rekindles a little bit of what we are about.

“Situations like this seem to give us a push come game day.

“At some places, players would look at the scenario and think ‘wow, we’re a bit depleted and it’s going to be tough’, whereas with us, our leaders seem to give that bit more – even though that’s not really possible – and push everyone else to new levels as well.

“Everyone lifts their game, and that’s what we are going to need to see again over at Thatto Heath.”

The St Helens-based club are fresh from beating Wath Brow and have a strong pedigree, being fourth in the league table, three points ahead of Underbank after nine matches.

“They are the Grand Final winners from last year and joined Hunslet as being the only two teams to win at Wath Brow,” said Knight.

“They’ve got a bit of form, so we know it’s going to be tough, but you have to expect that with being where we are.

“We have earned the right to be in the National Conference Premier and that means it’s tough all the time, so we are just going to go over there and give it our best shot.”