Sebastopol will have to fight for a finals berth without captain Tony Lockyer after the star defender underwent surgery to re-attach his pectoral muscle to the bone, ruling him out for the rest of the season.
There was hope Lockyer would be fit for the end of the home-and-away campaign having briefly played through the injury, albeit in a limited capacity.
However, Burra coach Michael Searl said Lockyer decided to go under the knife to have a chance of playing football again.
"He's out until next year unfortunately," Searl told The Courier. "It was one of those unfortunate things, in that it was an innocuous tackle when it happened.
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"He hadn't been able to compete at the level he wanted to since and he decided for the longevity of the enjoyment of his life and wanting to play football again he needed to go into surgery."
Lockyer's loss is a massive blow for last season's grand finalists, who are four points off a finals spot and own one of the longest injury lists in the league.
Michael Powell (hamstring) is a chance to return, but the Burra have lost both Hugo Papst and Jack McNabb to calf complaints.
Bailey Medwell faces another couple of weeks out after dislocating his shoulder in the loss to Ballarat just before lockdown.
Joining him on the sidelines are Jai Harvey and Chase Dummett (calf).
There's some relief for the Burra with Ryan Noether (hamstring) and ruck James Richards (shoulder) expected to return this weekend.
Sebastopol hosts Melton South needing a win to keep pace with its fellow finals hopefuls.
Games against Melton and East Point to close the season, albeit at home, leave the Burra with an uphill task to match last season's fairytale run.
"We need to realise that we can't take anything for granted and potentially treat it like it's our final because it very well could be with the ever-changing circumstances," Searl said.
"We've just got to approach every game with energy and effort because who knows, it might get taken away from us next week.
"That feeling of satisfaction that you get after a collective effort is the feeling we want after every game."
It hasn't been the easiest of preparations for the entirety of the BFNL, as clubs get ready to play only four days after restrictions eased.
The Burra had a light session on Wednesday, the first day out of lockdown, before returning to a COVID-normal training on Thursday night.
Searl felt the latest break in the season had impacted his group.
"I think it took the wind out of the sails a little bit this time," he said.
"We really tried to get motivated and engaged, and I feel it picked up pretty quickly.
"There are still quite a few on the injury list, but we've got to give ourselves a chance, and our destiny is in our own hands.
"If we win games of footy, we make finals. If we don't, then we simply weren't good enough to be there when it counted."
The gravity of the match will be welcome motivation in the absence of a crowd, under strict guidelines needed for football to return.
"It's not just a normal game. We've got to generate our own enthusiasms and generate an atmosphere," Searl said.
"It will be tough, but we've got to adapt.
"You're not trying to find excuses or reasons as to why it can't work but actually look for reasons why it can.
"Hopefully we've got enough level heads and enough experience among the group to lead the team in a meaningful way."
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