Essendon have suffered a huge blow on the eve of the premiership season with defender Martin Gleeson expected to miss the first half of the year.
Gleeson fractured his ankle (talus) and dislocated the subtalar joint, which occurs at the meeting point of the ankle and the heel, during the Bombers’ four-point win against Geelong in their final practice match at Colac on Sunday.
The 23-year-old is set to undergo surgery on Tuesday but the club is hopeful he will be available for selection after the mid-season bye.
“Marty suffered a major fracture to the front of the talus and a minor dislocation to the subtalar joint in his foot,” Essendon football manager Dan Richardson said.
“While this is an uncommon injury, we are fortunate he is in the safe hands of our medical team and Mr Andrew Oppy who will conduct the surgery this morning.
“We expect Marty to be sidelined for 12-14 weeks, but through a successful rehabilitation program we believe he could be in a position to return after the bye.”
Gleeson has become a fixture in Essendon’s backline and enjoyed arguably the best season of his 69-game career last year.