TWO of Ballarat’s top AFL exports have escaped potentially disastrous injuries, as the list of elite footballers from the city continues to soar.
Adelaide’s Brad Crouch broke his leg in the South Australian showdown against Port Adelaide on Saturday, while Collingwood defender Nathan Brown dislocated his right shoulder in a marking contest against Sydney’s Lance Franklin.
Despite suffering injuries that could have seen both players sidelined for extended periods, the pair are both expected to be back on the field within two months.
Brown, who was playing his 92nd game for the Magpies, was yesterday given the best possible news after scans revealed he had avoided any major damage in his shoulder.
It is expected he will miss four or five weeks, but will not require surgery.
Collingwood football director Rodney Eade said Brown’s diagnosis was the best the club could have hoped for.
“The shoulder obviously came out of its joint on Saturday night but there’s no extra damage to the bone and just minor damage to the ligaments,” he told collingwoodfc.com.au.
“We’re reasonably confident it’s a pretty good result for us.”
For Crouch, an x-ray on Saturday night revealed a broken leg, even though the strong midfielder thought he had just copped a knock from the knee of Port Adelaide’s Brad Ebert.
Speaking to The Courier yesterday, Crouch said he expected to have his left leg in a cast for another week, before being placed in a moon boot.
Despite the fractured fibula bone, it is possible the 20-year-old could miss just four matches, although a conservative time frame of at least six weeks is more likely.
“It’s just frustrating because I’d only just started running in February (after an Achilles injury) and missed a whole chunk of the pre-season,” Crouch said.
“It’s pretty disappointing but it could have been worse if it was the other bone. At least it’s the sort of injury that is fully healed once it recovers.”
Looking on the bright side, Crouch said his injury possibly opened the door for younger brother, Matt, to make his senior debut.
Matt, 18, has been somewhat of a surprise exclusion from Adelaide’s first two games, having performed strongly in the NAB Challenge and practice matches.
The younger of the two brothers collected 29 disposals playing for Adelaide’s reserves side in a trial match on Saturday, staking a genuine claim to be called up into the senior squad.
“It’s good to see Matt playing well so hopefully he’s not too far away. It would be great to actually play with him though,” the more senior Crouch said.
Other former Ballarat footballers on the injury list include Ricky Henderson (Adelaide, 4-5 months), Lauchlan Dalgleish (Essendon, to be confirmed), Tanner Smith (Fremantle, 6-8 weeks), Brad Sewell (Hawthorn, 1-2 weeks), Matt Dea (Richmond, 5-6 weeks) and Adam Goodes (Sydney, 3-4 weeks).