The bad news keeps coming for Essendon, with captain Jobe Watson to miss the rest of the AFL season because of a shoulder surgery.
Club doctor Bruce Reid said Watson aggravated an existing injury to his left shoulder in Sunday’s 110-point loss to St Kilda.
It was the 2012 Brownlow Medallist’s 200th game, but he only managed nine possessions as the Bombers suffered their fifth-straight loss.
“It’s disappointing any time, especially given the season isn’t going the way we would have hoped,” Watson told the club website.
“When you can’t be out there to help rectify it, it’s disappointing.”
Watson will now undergo surgery on Wednesday.
“His MRI (scan) unfortunately shows that he has an unstable shoulder and has significant damage,” Reid said in a club statement.
“He saw (surgeon) Greg Hoy this afternoon and that meeting determined he will require surgery.”
Essendon’s season is in freefall after their woeful performance against the Saints.
They are 14th with only four wins and Watson’s loss is a cruel blow.
“We all feel for Jobe, he is such a tremendous leader of our Club, and for his season to be ended prematurely is obliviously a big blow for him personally,” said coach James Hird.
“It’s certainly tough to replace a leader and player like Jobe, but given the circumstances we currently find ourselves in, it presents members of our playing group with the opportunity to showcase their leadership and ability to respond against Melbourne on Saturday.”
The news comes a day after Watson strongly backed Hird, who has again come under strong media scrutiny because of the team’s poor form.
Earlier this season, Watson and his teammates were rocked by the news that WADA would appeal against the AFL anti-doping tribunal not guilty findings.