The Western Bulldogs will be without their Matthew Boyd for opening rounds of the season.
The Dogs captain injured his calf during a practice match against Richmond at Visy Park over a week ago but after failing to recover he underwent scans to unveil the full extent of the strain.
Boyd is expected to miss at least the first two rounds of the season and could be out beyond that.
James Fantasia, the General Manager of Football at the Bulldogs wants their youth to step up to fill the hole that Boyd leaves.
“Although it’s unfortunate that Matthew has suffered an injury on the eve of the season, it will provide some of our talented, emerging midfielders an opportunity to take another step in their development,” Fantasia said.
“Matthew, as always will rehabilitate his injury with the professionalism that we’ve come to know and expect. And we have no doubt he’ll be back as quickly as possible.”
Boyd is one of the most durable players in the competition having missed just one match since 2005 including 107 consecutive games between 2005-2010.
The Western Bulldogs play host to Brisbane at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.