NORTH Warrnambool Eagles forward Mathew Buck’s season is over.
The 28-year-old, who was enjoying his best season with the Eagles, had his worst fears confirmed — he will need a right knee reconstruction after limping from the field in Sunday’s historic elimination final win over Koroit.
Buck said scans on Monday revealed he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament. He will undergo surgery in the next couple of weeks.
“I am shattered, but what do you do?” Buck said yesterday.
“It’s been a good year.”
Buck said he hyperextended his knee when he landed awkwardly in a marking contest but, after having his knee strapped, returned to the ground in the belief he had pinched “something”.
But at the 22-minute mark of the third quarter, he hobbled from the field for the final time this season.
It’s a cruel blow for Buck, who had his left knee reconstructed in 2004 when he was playing with Terang Mortlake.
“I hate watching,” Buck said. “I’m going to help wherever I can. I had to watch Terang in ’05 and was helping Adam Dowie and they won it that year. It wasn’t a lot of fun. I’m not looking forward to going through that again.”
The Koroit and District Primary School teacher is a member of the Eagles leadership group and will have input where coach David Haynes wants.
The problem for Haynes is that Buck joins a growing list of key players sidelined for Sunday’s cut-throat first semi-final against Camperdown.
Vice-captain Matthew Wines suffered a season-ending neck injury in the Eagles’ round 17 win over Koroit and Herb Barlow suffered broken bones in his leg and ankle in round eight, ending his season.
Buck said the only positive to come out of his injury was that a number of players who had toiled for years for the club would be pushing for senior selection.
“We’ve got strong depth,” he said.
“We’ve put games into everyone during the year and we probably have five or six blokes who can come in who have experience. They are players who have been really stiff not to play seniors.
“Liam Ryan coming back — he is the only bloke who could come back and play senior footy straight away and not one word was spoken by those (fringe) players. Now is their opportunity.”