MADDIE Dalton lasted less than a quarter into her comeback game before injury struck again.
The Port Fairy midcourter broke her ankle in the fourth term at Gardens Oval yesterday as the Seagulls downed Terang Mortlake 43-27.
Dalton, 21, was one of three players to suffer lower leg injuries in the last quarter as the round three contest ended in carnage.
Bloods pair Julia Moloney and Sharni Moloney also hurt their ankles, forcing the already undermanned side to finish the game with only six players on the court.
Dalton’s setback is the latest in a string of serious injuries.
She broke a bone in her wrist and tore ligaments in her thumb in a collision with Seagulls coach Emma O’Keeffe in June last season, ending her 2013 campaign.
O’Keeffe said Dalton’s latest injury marred the Seagulls’ strong all-round performance. She labelled the win “bittersweet” and said the players felt for their “unlucky” teammate.
“Maddie in the last quarter got bowled over and her legs got tangled up and she broke her ankle,” O’Keeffe said.
Port Fairy opened a five-goal advantage by quarter-time and built on it throughout the game.
O’Keeffe said Emily Forrest and Carly Watson had started to build strong chemistry in the goal ring, while defenders Sarah Moroney and Alicia Moloney were also among the Seagulls’ best.
“We out-rebounded them 95 per cent of the time,” she said.
“It was fantastic at either end and Nicole (Dwyer) was good and steady in the midcourt.”
Stand-in Terang Mortlake coach Pam Davis said the Bloods, who were without regulars Aimee Arundell and Jo Couch, “couldn’t buy a goal”.
“In the first half we were competitive but Port Fairy got on top of us,” she said.
“Their goalie Emily Forrest was sensational.
“We had a lack of height and they capitalised on that.”
Davis said the winless Bloods were confident goaler Jo Couch would return from a knee injury against Warrnambool next weekend.