IT WAS the news no Geelong fan wanted to hear.
Patrick Dangerfield joining Gary Ablett in the race against time to be fit for Round 1.
But the pair of Geelong superstars aren’t the only injury issues before the season begins.
Here are your club’s players racing the clock to be fit for Round 1.
Brodie Smith will miss most of the season with an ACL injury, while Riley Knight remains unlikely to feature in Round 1 due to an ankle problem. He didn’t feature at all throughout the side’s pre-season campaign. Alex Keath hurt his ankle in Adelaide’s clash with Port Adelaide over the weekend, although there is no update on his condition just yet.
Sam Skinner is a long-term proposition for the Lions, who welcomed back a host of players from injury worries through pre-season. Marco Paparone has a back problem, while Jack Frost also missed the final round of JLT Series matches. Luke Hodge copped a poke to the eye in Sunday’s clash, but shouldn’t be an issue before Round 1.
Matthew Kreuzer tweaked his ankle in Saturday night’s JLT Series victory over Hawthorn, but Carlton is confident the big ruckman will feature in Round 1. However, new recruit Darcy Lang looks unlikely to play due to an ankle injury. Jarrod Garlett has a shoulder problem, while Sam Docherty will miss the entire season with an ACL injury. Sam Rowe faces a delayed start to the year due to a knee injury.
The news couldn’t get worse for Collingwood. The club fears Tyson Goldsack has a ruptured ACL and will miss the entire season. Daniel Wells and Jamie Elliott are confirmed absentees for Round 1 with achilles and ankle injuries respectively, while Jordan De Goey won’t feature due to a hamstring injury. Alex Fasolo is racing the clock with a shoulder injury, while Levi Greenwood faces a delayed start due to a knee problem. There are also concerns over James Aish, who has a calf issue.
Young defender Martin Gleeson will miss the first half of the season after suffering a rather unusual injury against Geelong on Sunday. After landing awkwardly, he fractured his talus and suffered a dislocation of his subtular joint. Travis Colyer will miss the first part of the season with a foot injury, while Jayden Laverde is still sidelined with a hamstring problem. Kobe Mutch is recovering from a knee injury, while Aaron Francis has been granted indefinite leave from the club. David Zaharakis copped a kick to his leg on Sunday, but should be fine.
Bradley Hill suffered a quad strain during a training session last week and is now facing an uphill battle to be fit for Round 1. The same can be said for young ruckman Sean Darcy, who is dealing with a calf injury. Aaron Sandilands came from the field early during Sunday’s game with West Coast, but the club isn’t worried about the veteran. Harley Bennell is a confirmed out for Round 1, having suffered yet another calf setback.
The Cats have injury issues across the board. Superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday’s JLT Series clash with Essendon, with early indications suggesting he could miss Round 1. There are similar fears for fellow star midfielder Gary Ablett, who is also dealing with a hamstring complaint and didn’t feature at all throughout the JLT Series. Lachie Henderson looks unlikely to play due to a knee injury, while Scott Selwood is in a similar boat due to an ankle problem. Rhys Stanley’s condition is not yet clear, having suffered a calf injury.
The Suns will be concerned about Pearce Hanley, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in Sunday’s victory over Brisbane. He could be racing the clock to be fit in time for Round 1. There were high hopes for new recruit Harrison Wigg, before an ankle injury stunted his pre-season campaign. He now looks unlikely to feature in Round 1. Sean Lemmens looks unlikely to make it back in time from a hamstring injury, while Callum Ah Chee is also battling a hamstring complaint. Peter Wright has a calf injury, but should be good to go.
Zac Williams will miss most of the season with an achilles injury, while Rory Lobb looks unlikely to play in Round 1 due to a groin problem. Ryan Griffen suffered another soft tissue injury in training and is now set to race the clock before the season-opener. However, he looks unlikely to make it. Matt Buntine and Adam Kennedy will face delayed starts to the season with injuries carried over from last year. Tom Scully has a knee problem and Jacob Hopper is battling a groin injury, but the club is confident both will be fit for Round 1.
Cyril Rioli is “touch and go” to play Round 1, having faced a delayed start to pre-season. He spent time away from the club over the summer and is now building his match fitness, with the Hawks keen to play it safe with their star forward. Jonathan Ceglar has been ruled out with knee and back issues, while Grant Birchall will miss the start of the year with a knee injury. Paul Puopolo suffered a leg injury on Saturday, but should be okay.
Demons co-captain Jack Viney has been ruled out of Round 1 with the foot injury that has plagued him throughout the summer. Jordan Lewis missed last week’s JLT Series game with a calf complaint, though the club is confident he’ll be fit in time for the season-opener. Dom Tyson has returned from a calf strain, while Tom McDonald should be fine having missed last week’s game with a toe problem. Alex Neal-Bullen has quad tightness.
Jy Simpkin will likely miss Round 1 after hurting his ankle in a drunken incident last month. Robbie Tarrant hurt his back in an incident against Richmond last week, but the club is confident he will be fit for the season-opener. Young duo Kyron Hayden and Declan Watson will miss, but promising midfielder Paul Ahern should finally be available for selection after a long history of knee injuries.
Despite missing the Power’s final pre-season game with hamstring tightness, skipper Travis Boak is expected to be fit for Round 1. Dashing defender Jasper Pittard won’t play in the opening game of the season after he strained his hamstring against the Crows on the weekend. Chad Wingard, Jared Polec and off-season recruit Steven Motlop all got through Saturday’s game unscathed to put their hands up to play Fremantle. High profile signing Tom Rockliff didn’t feature at all during the JLT Community Series due to a knee strain, but is set to go for Round 1.
Up to four premiership stars may miss Richmond’s season opener against Carlton next Thursday night. Dion Prestia didn’t feature at all during the JLT Community Series due to a lingering hamstring strain, neither did Daniel Rioli, who is still working his way back from the foot he broke in last year’s grand final. Bachar Houli played in the Tigers’ first pre-season game against Essendon, but missed last Wednesday night’s final tune-up due to calf soreness. Lockdown defender Nathan Broad will miss the first three games of the season while he serves a club imposed suspension.
St Kilda has almost a full list to choose from at the first match committee of the season. Three-time Trevor Barker Award winner Jack Steven rolled his ankle at Casey Fields last Thursday night, but is expected to be fit to face Brisbane in Round 1. Ruckman Billy Longer missed the Saints’ final hitout ahead of the season due to a minor hip issue, while rising star Jack Billings returned from a hamstring strain against the Demons to confirm his place for the season opener. Luckless midfielder Nathan Freeman underwent another round of surgery on his hamstring recently and is set to miss the first month of the season.
Sydney stars Dan Hannebery and Jarrad McVeigh are facing a race against time to be ready for the opening game of 2018. The pair are both recovering from calf strains and might run out of time before the first ball is bounced next weekend. John Longmire is also facing a ruck shortage in the wake of Sam Naismith’s season-ending knee injury and the sudden retirement of Kurt Tippett. Untried ruckman Darcy Cameron is an option for Round 1 after he played against the Giants on Friday night, but Callum Sinclair is likely to have recovered from a minor ankle sprain by then.
After more than 18 months on the sidelines, Nic Naitanui made his long-awaited return from a knee reconstruction on the weekend, playing a half for East Perth. The ruckman remains an outside chance to face Sydney in Round 1. Dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy has been ruled out of the at least the first two rounds of the season as he continues his recover from ankle surgery. Nathan Vardy will miss the first month of the season after he injured his groin in a practice match last week. Off-season recruit Brendon Ah Chee suffered a high ankle sprain in the Eagles’ first JLT Community Series game and is in doubt to play Round 1, as is dynamic forward Willie Rioli after he injured his ankle early in Sunday’s loss to Fremantle.
Versatile big man Jordan Roughead is in some doubt to face GWS in Round 1 after he landed awkwardly in the middle of the ground at Moe on the weekend, jarring his hip in the process. Shane Biggs and Caleb Daniel were both late withdrawals against Collingwood due to food poisoning.