If his stubbled chin is anything to go by, Wollongong Hawks enforcer Dave Gruber might be taking his impression of injured teammate Larry Davidson a little too far.
The normally clean-shaven Gruber's inconspicuous whiskers have a long way to go before they can be compared to Davidson's bushy beard, but it's his way of saying "never fear, Grubes is here".
"I'm workin' on my Laz look," Gruber said as he arrived for yesterday's training session at the Snakepit.
Gruber has been elevated into the starting five for tonight's home clash with Perth after regular starter Davidson broke a rib in last week's road loss to the Wildcats.
Despite giving away 12 centimetres to Perth centre Mike Dunigan, Gruber is looking forward to their duel in the paint.
"With Laz out, it's obviously going to be a big hole to fill, no question," he said.
"As far as me jumping into the starting role, I'll do my best and do what I do. I'm a different player than Larry is, but one thing about our system is that it allows for each player to play their individual game within the system, so I'll try and play to my strengths."
Dunigan made his NBL debut last week after being signed on a short-term contract as a replacement for injured centre Matt Knight.
He scored 18 points on 8/11 shooting in Perth's 80-68 triumph.
"He's a big, strong guy and has an imposing presence with his wingspan and size," Gruber said.
"It'll be up to myself and Ossie [Oscar Forman] and Auryn [MacMillan] to limit his catches and push him away from the basket as much as we can.
"Offensively, we're still going to try and get the ball through hands and try and score by committee.
"Even though I'm jumping in Laz's spot, the whole team is going to have to step up in different areas to make up for what we're losing.
"That load's going to be shared among everybody. Myself, Ossie, Auryn, and it's also going to be Jacko [Dan Jackson] and you might even see Sav [Glen Saville] coming into the four-spot a little bit."
Davidson will also miss tomorrow night's road meeting with Sydney and could be sidelined for up to six weeks.
"We'll get through this," Gruber said.
"It's nothing new to us. We've had this sort of challenge before. Everybody is going to have to play their part.
"We're playing at home and we play with a lot of confidence here.
"I've always said the crowd here is like our sixth man. You just feed off the atmosphere and energy."