Melbourne will be missing their skipper and Wallabies lock Adam Coleman from their crunch Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs on Friday night at AAMI Park.
Already without Test halfback Will Genia, who broke his arm in the second Test against Ireland, Coleman is sidelined with an adductor strain suffered in Australia's final Test loss last weekend.
The remainder of Melbourne's Wallabies contingent returned for the top-of-the-table clash in good shape and have been straight back into training.
The Waratahs have their own concerns with their Test skipper, flanker Michael Hooper, out with hamstring injuury while they could lose superstar fullback Israel Folau, who faces a Wednesday disciplinary hearing stemming from the Test.
Rebels coach Dave Wessels said the players were excited about the first chance to win four successive matches for the the first time in Melbourne history, and leapfrog NSW into top spot in the Australian conference.
Michael Ruru, who covered for Genia for three weeks leading into the June break when he was out with a knee injury, will again wear the No.9 jersey while the new lock pairing will come from Matt Philip, Ross Haylett Petty and former British and Irish Lions representative Geoff Parling.
"Mikey has come into his own and is playing with a lot of confidence," Wessels said.
"He's got some different attributes to Will - he's pretty physical and in your face and sometimes in big games that's what you need."
Wessels said his team wouldn't get too caught up in worrying about a NSW line-up minus two of their best players.
"It will be interesting to see how they handle that but our experience this season has taught us we need to focus on our own house and get that in order," he said.
"We know that if we play well we can challenge any team in this comp so our focus is just on doing that."