The Western Bulldogs are bracing for bad news on the damage to Toby McLean’s right knee.
McLean was left on the Adelaide Oval turf in agony after having his leg caught under the weight of a tackle from Hawthorn ruckman Jonathon Ceglar, just a few minutes into Sunday’s game.
He had started the brightly, slotting the game’s first goal inside the first 30 seconds.
Sadly, his afternoon – and almost certainly his season – came to a heartbreaking end only a few moments later.
The Bulldogs will confirm the extent of the injury in the coming days, with McLean likely to head home to Melbourne to receive treatment.
Travelling emergency Pat Lipinski sat with the 24-year-old in the changerooms throughout the Dogs’ comfortable win over Hawthorn.
“As you’d imagine, he’s a bit of a forlorn figure, as are many of his team-mates,” coach Luke Beveridge said after the game.
“When one of our boys go down like that, there’s an emotional coming together.
“He’s a resilient character, Toby. He’s been through a lot in his life, not just his footy career.
“We’ll get him through. We’ll support him.
“If it is as serious as what it might be, he’s still got many years ahead of him, and hopefully many productive years as a Western Bulldogs player.”