Injuries fail to dampen Force mood
Western Force hooker Nathan Charles remains unfazed by the loss of influential back-rows, Hugh McMenamin and Chris Alcock.
McMenamin has been ruled out for around ten weeks after breaking his collarbone during the Force's fine win over defending champions, the Chiefs.
Colleague Alcock is likely to be sidelined for the remained of the season, such is the extent of his shoulder injury.
But Charles, who is set to rack up his 50th Super Rugby appearance for the Force against the Reds on Saturday, is bullish about his side's breakaway options.
"Angus Cottrell has stepped up and played great rugby," Charles told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Ben McCalman has been the standout for us. Matt Hodgson is a stalwart of this place and is still playing like he's 18 years old.
"And Brynard Stander is the human missile."
The Force currently occupy eighth place on the overall leaderboard, recovering from two early losses to record an impressive hat-trick of wins, culminating in that 18-15 triumph over the Chiefs in Perth.
Indeed, the franchise enjoyed a revitalising bye last weekend, ahead of their visit to Suncorp Stadium on Saturday. Gunning for a club record of four consecutive victories, the trip to the Reds seems far less challenging than usual.
It's something 25-year-old Charles admits he never envisaged being a part of, finding his way into the Force via a temporary contract some four years ago.
"I was playing for Sydney Uni," added Charles.
"At halftime I got the call to come off, and the following Friday I was playing for the Force against the Stormers.
"They've struggled to get rid of me since. I just love the place."