Reigning premier Melbourne has gone from undefeated to losing consecutive matches and now one of its key forwards faces a lengthy stint out.
Melbourne forward Tom McDonald may not be part of the Demons’ push for back-to-back premierships, with a serious foot setback potentially wiping out his season.
Scans confirmed the club’s fears that McDonald was dealing with a Lisfranc injury and he will have a plate inserted in his sore foot.
The 29-year-old first suffered what the club thought was an ankle issue against North Melbourne in round 10 –but played on after briefly leaving the ground – before being withdrawn from the selected side the past two weeks.
His absence comes at a time Melbourne’s key forwards are majorly out of sorts, including Ben Brown failing to kick a goal in his past three matches and Sam Weideman being dumped to the VFL.
McDonald, on the other hand, bounced back from being dropped early in the season to kick 11 goals in the month after being recalled.
Geelong defender Tom Stewart missed last year’s finals series because of his own Lisfranc injury, but Demons high performance manager Selwyn Griffith is holding out hope that McDonald can return late in the season.
“Tom was unable to train fully following the main training session last week and following further scans, it was discovered that he had sustained a low-grade Lisfranc injury,” Griffith said.
“Unfortunately for Tom, due to the instability of the Lisfranc joint, we consulted with multiple surgeons around the best course of action.
“Tom and the medical team have decided to go with a small plate across the joint to stabilise it, which gives him the opportunity to play towards the back-end of this season.”
Defender Harry Petty sustained an AC joint sprain in a collision with Sydney’s Joel Amartey on Saturday night, on top of copping a blow to one of his shins, but is expected to be fit to take on Collingwood on Monday.
That is good news for Melbourne, given club officials were effectively forced to suspend All-Australian Steven May for one match after he was involved in a drunken incident while still in concussion protocols.
The Dees are already without Joel Smith (ankle), while Jake Lever has so far been unable to recapture his All-Australian form of last season and Adam Tomlinson struggled badly in his return game last week.
McDonald’s injury situation also robs Melbourne of another tall option in defence.