The bad news continues for North Melbourne, with defender Luke McDonald facing hamstring surgery and a lengthy spell out of the AFL.
At worst, the operation could end his season given the finals are three months away.
The Kangaroos confirmed on Monday night that McDonald would need tendon surgery following his injury during Friday’s epic nine-point loss to Hawthorn.
McDonald hurt his hamstring when he successfully chased down Hawks speedster Cyril Rioli.
“It was a tremendous effort for Luke to lay the tackle and save what would have been a goal,” North football director Geoff Walsh told the club website.
“Luke has had a great year and his loss will be felt.”
North won’t know how long McDonald will be out of action until after the surgery, saying only that it will be several weeks.
The fallout from the Hawthorn game has been tumultuous for North, with Brad Scott facing a massive AFL penalty for publicly questioning the integrity of the umpires who officiated in the match.
North also said on Monday night that star onballer Daniel Wells remains in doubt for Thursday’s match in Adelaide against the Crows.
Wells hurt his ankle against the Hawks, while Taylor Garner suffered another hamstring injury at training and could be sidelined for a month.
The one piece of good news for the Roos was that Jack Ziebell was not cited for his high bump on Sam Mitchell.
Scott is mindful that as he prepares for his punishment from the AFL, he must also ensure his team is ready for Adelaide.
The Kangaroos have a short six-day turnaround from the Hawks loss.
Scott said they had already spoken about ensuring the controversy surrounding his public blunder about the umpires would not affect the team.
“We’ve worked really hard to make sure the focus is back to where it needs to be,” he said.
“We had a really in-depth discussion with the whole playing list.”
While North took it up to the Hawks, it is their third loss in four weeks – and those losses were against potential top-four teams.
Friday night’s result cost them top spot and the Crows are another team in top-four contention.
Also, Adelaide are coming off a bye and North have several other injury concerns.
Captain Andrew Swallow (concussion), top midfielder Ben Cunnington (quad) and key forward Jarrad Waite missed the Hawthorn loss.
“Due to the short turnaround, it will be a tough ask for all of them to get up,” Scott said.
“That said, all three were pretty close to playing last Friday night.”
North took it up to Hawthorn physically and Scott said it was vital they built on that against Adelaide.