They had six players backing up from reserve grade but Wollongong Bulldogs weren't short of motivation in avenging their first-round loss to Figtree, with a 53-point victory at Figtree Oval.
With a host of players unavailable at the end of their toughest five-week stretch of the season, a ruthless Wollongong returned to form with a 10.19 (79) to 3.8 (26) win.
Four weeks out from the finals the defending premiers are second, just a win behind arch-rivals Kiama and with their cavalry of top players set to return.
"Every year we have this horror run of four to five weeks due to uni exams and holidays and just have to get through it the best we can. But I was really pleased with the response today," Bulldogs coach Lee Murray said after Saturday's victory.
"It's been more stop-start than usual, we've rotated more players through first grade than in some other years but it's over now and we can concentrate on setting ourselves up for the big games to come."
Murray admitted there was extra motivation to beat the Kangaroos.
"I can't remember the last time a team beat us twice during the regular season and didn't want it to happen this time," he said.
"They deserved their win last time but we were ready and the spirit and attitude was great. Right from the first bounce we were hungry and played the game on our terms."
The Bulldogs would have been out of sight by quarter-time had they not kicked 3.10, with the Kangaroos held to just four behinds in the first term.
Figtree were kept goal-less until the third quarter with the Bulldogs on top, led by onballer Ben McKay, Sam Hodges and Aaron Wilkinson.
Tom Potter booted three goals, while Tom Conlan, Nick O'Connell and Hayden Dore were excellent after backing up from playing in the reserves.
Meanwhile, in other round 14 games, Bomaderry reclaimed third spot from Northern Districts on percentage, with a 26.18 (174) to 3.2 (20) victory over winless Albatross.
Brayden Varcoe, Paul Stephenson and Brent Herdman booted four goals each for Bomaderry, with Matt Cace outstanding.
Shellharbour Suns backed up from their midweek loss to Northern Districts with a 67-point win away against Nowra.
Elwyn Roberts was unstoppable for the Suns with six goals, the visitors extending their lead at every quarter.
Shellharbour led by 30 points at quarter-time and booted 14 goals to four overall, with Tyler Lister-Serrano the best afield.
Kiama consolidated their grip on top spot by outclassing Port Kembla 22.22 (154) to 6.5 (41) at Kully Bay Oval.
Aaron Boatfield booted six goals for the Power, with Ricky Neels bagging five and Ben Williams four goals in another strong team performance.