ROOSTERS hard man Nick Couch has been ruled out for the 2013 Victorian Football League season with a knee injury.
North Ballarat Roosters had confirmation yesterday that Couch had ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament and sustained significant bone damage.
The tough midfielder damaged his knee in the Selkirk Roosters’ development league practice match against Port Melbourne on Saturday.
Couch had scans on Monday night to assess the extent of the damage.
He will meet with medical staff later this week to determine his football future.
Couch sustained the injury in a simple change of direction while running down the ball at Eureka Stadium.
In a separate incident in the match, Couch also broke a finger.
Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said it was a disappointing blow on the eve of the season.
“It happened in such an innocuous way - running after the ball and a change of direction, no collision, no jumbled legs,” FitzGerald said.
“Nick’s one of the players we’ve had in the system for quite awhile so he knows our systems and how we play.
“He’s got a very strong body and is a highly respected player about the club.”
The 25-year-old, who hails from Terang-Mortlake, was promoted to the Roosters’ leadership group this year and had been playing in the development match to help instruct younger players on field.
FitzGerald said Couch had volunteered with Liam Hoy to play with the younger squad.
“Our leaders were impressed with the way Cameron Ling and Paul Chapman stepped back to play in the Geelong VFL team for practice games in 2012 and the instruction and leadership they provided,” FitzGerald said.
“We thought a couple of our leaders could help with our systems and structures in a similar way.”
The Roosters had a 49-point loss to a bigger and stronger Port Melbourne outfit on Saturday.
They will regroup to face reigning VFL premier Geelong in a NAB Cup curtain raiser to Geelong and North Melbourne at Kardinia Park.