NORTH Warrnambool Eagles are preparing for a Hampden league flag tilt without a top-line defender.
Jordyn Murphy had planned to step away from netball after the 2022 season for family reasons but a serious knee injury ended her quest for a fairy-tale finish.
Murphy, 27, was hurt in the Eagles' round 17 loss to South Warrnambool.
Eagles coach Skye Billings said Murphy - her twin sister - was awaiting results of an MRI but was expecting a lengthy recovery period.
"She won't play netball again. This was going to be her last year anyway," Billings said.
"We haven't found out the exact results (of her injury) yet but from what the physio said it's not looking very good at all."
Murphy hurt her left knee when it collapsed.
Billings said she was supporting her sister as she dealt with her first serious injury.
"It is hard for her but I have had three knee recos so it is a bit of a flashback for me but it has helped because I can talk to her about all the emotions she's feeling," she said.
The playing coach said she went running towards her sister when the injury happened.
"I would do that for anyone because I have been through it but it just has that little bit extra emotion to try and calm her down and she wasn't going to listen to anyone else," Billings said.
"She was telling me she was going to be sick and I was saying 'no you're not', so it would've been a good spectacle for everybody there."
The Eagles will have to rejig their back court for the remaining two home-and-away games and their finals campaign.
Billings said it would be challenging to replace Murphy in goal defence and a younger teammate or experienced player needed "to step up".
"To be 100 per cent honest, I have no idea," she said of the new-look back-court.
"It's been a headache this week just to try and get Jordyn to all her appointments because she can't drive because she can't bend it (her knee) far enough to drive.
"Tonight at netball (training) is going to be the first time we're going to touch base and have a conversation with the girls. It will be interesting to see what everybody else thinks."
Billings - three-and-a-half minutes older than her twin - said Murphy wanted to remain involved with the Eagles' premiership tilt.
"She will be away this weekend but she's already booked herself in for me to drive her to Camperdown next weekend," she said.
North Warrnambool Eagles host second-placed Cobden on Saturday before finishing against the Magpies who are out of finals calculations.
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