Two clubs are sweating on injuries to playing coaches.
Wodonga coach Jordan Taylor hasn't played for nine weeks - admittedly a month of that was due to the COVID break - but he re-injured a troublesome hamstring during the spell.
"I won't play next week (against Corowa-Rutherglen on Saturday), but I'm hoping to be back the week after (against Wangaratta Rovers)," he offered.
Still, Taylor's signing can't be questioned as he is an enormously popular leader and was able to attract the Bulldogs' biggest off-season signing spree in years.
Myrtleford co-coach Dawson Simpson missed the loss to Albury on Saturday with a foot injury.
"Dawson shouldn't be too far away, he's got an aggravated tendon in his foot," co-coach Jake Sharp suggested.
"Nathan Laracy's coming back from a sublax shoulder, so maybe this week."
Myrtleford is away to winless North Albury on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the club suffered another injury to a key player against the red-hot Tigers.
"Hughie Wales has an MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury, we're expecting it to be grade two, so 4-6 weeks," Sharp revealed.
Meanwhile, Lavington coach Simon Curtis was bitterly disappointed with the club's shock three-goal loss to Wodonga.
"Some recurring themes, skills for sure, an unwillingness to be more bold with the ball use, taking the easy option, always more points than goals, so they hurt," he explained.
After eight rounds, the Panthers have a three-five record, albeit only a win outside the five, and are in danger of becoming the first club since Albury in 1986 to go from premiers to missing the top five.
"The game (against Wodonga) hurts in terms of the season, it's potentially season-defining," he admitted.
"Definitely we can (save the season), whether you'd bet on us with what we've done in the first half of the season, that would be your own call."
Lavington's stuttering start is one of the stories of the season.
The Panthers certainly lost a handful of players since the last season in 2019, including underrated defender Brad Carman, while 2019 Did Simpson medallist Shaun Mannagh has played just the one game.
There's been talk of a grand final hangover, but captain Luke Garland has said previously the players simply aren't in form, although the skipper himself and the club's best player this year Marty Brennan could hold their heads high against Wodonga.
There's no doubt though Lavington hasn't handled COVID.
"We've had people going on holidays and, of course, there's been the uncertainty whether the season would go ahead," Curtis said of the COVID turbulence.
"I don't think you can compare this season with 2019 (which was COVID free), they're two seasons (in terms of the circumstances).
"It is disappointing though that some of the other clubs are doing well (despite the COVID distractions), unfortunately we're not."
A handful of clubs have had coaching news over the past five weeks, including Wodonga Raiders' Jarrod Hodgkin confirming he will stand down after the season due to work commitments, while Myrtleford confirmed Sharp and Dawson will again co-coach.
However, Curtis is yet to make a decision.
Three late inclusions for the Bulldogs had a massive impact in juniors, former Hawthorn player Harry Jones, ex-Melbourne big man Mitch King and Werribee forward Hudson Garoni.
"Yeah, it was really good to play with some mates I played with when I was younger, guys like Mitchy Dinneen, Huddy Garoni, Ollie Greenhill, Mitch King, the list goes on," Jones confirmed.
Jones will return to North Melbourne's VFL team, once the competition resumes, and it's the same story for Garoni.
"It's really exciting for the club and we've got a couple of young players coming through,' he added.
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King will return to Monash Blues in the Victorian Amateur Football Association, once it resumes.
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