TAREE City's backline injury woes look set to continue with halfback Dean Mills battling a shoulder problem leading into Saturday's Group Three Rugby League game against Old Bar at Old Bar.
The Bulls have already lost fullback Jake Lauder (shoulder) and captain-coach Todd Bridge (knee) for the season. Mills injured his shoulder in the match against Wauchope on June 1 and while he saw the game out, he was in obvious discomfort.
"He's done the AC joint, but we just hope it isn't as bad as Jake's,'' Bridge said.
The Bulls have further problems, with second row Shannon Mullay struggling with an elbow problem while a calf injury could again prevent hooker Oscar Carey from taking the field, although a decision won't be made on his fitness until Saturday morning.
If Mills is out Toby De Stefano will switch to halfback. He deputised as hooker for Carey when the Bulls managed a 22-22 draw against the Blues.
The Bulls still have a shot at finishing in the five and Bridge pointed out the next three games could determine their chances.
Taree plays Old Bar then Port Macquarie at Taree and Forster-Tuncurry at Tuncurry. The Sharks and Hawks are the other two sides chasing fifth spot on the ladder.
"If we win those three games we'll be a good shot at making the semis,'' Bridge said.
However, he's not looking any further afield than Saturday. He understands the Pirates, despite their lack of success this season, will be formidable at Old Bar.
"They'll be keen to beat us and get their first win for the year,'' he said.
Bridge added that Old Bar Reserve hasn't produced too many positive results for the Bulls over the years.
"We always seem to struggle out there. I don't know what happens out there, but we just seem to switch off,'' he said.