STAR North Warrnambool Eagles midfielder Andy McMeel will miss at least the first four rounds of the Hampden league season after suffering a serious injury in Saturday’s pre-season cup.
McMeel, a ball magnet for the Eagles, especially in last season’s elimination final victory over Koroit, suffered a fractured collarbone in the first half of the round-robin match against Warrnambool.
Eagles president Michael Harrison said McMeel was taken to hospital before the match had finished where a break was confirmed.
The youngster will be sidelined for “four to six weeks”, according to Harrison.
The injury is a massive blow for the Eagles, one of the pre-season flag favourites, which will be missing coach, key forward David Haynes in round one because of suspension, livewire forward Jeremy Parkinson, who is overseas, and key defender Brendan Murfett (unavailable).
Check out our gallery of the weekend's HFNL pre-season action.
Haynes and assistant coach Jake Myles, who crossed from the Kangaroos after being sacked as coach in January, did not play in either of the Eagles’ two round-robin matches at Port Fairy.
The Eagles won both their games against Port Fairy and reigning premier Warrnambool but missed the final on percentage.
It was a similar story for grand finalist Cobden and Camperdown, which also won both their matches. Runner-up Hamilton Kangaroos, Camperdown, North Warrnambool Eagles and Cobden all finished on 14 points. Camperdown missed the final, effectively by conceding one goal to Terang Mortlake in its final game.
Sides received points for overall wins and each victory in a half.
Warrnambool was ranked sixth and South Warrnambool seventh after each winning two halves while Port Fairy, Terang Mortlake and Portland failed to picked up a point.