Colby McKercher during the round nine match between Gold Coast and North Melbourne at TIO Stadium in Darwin, May 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ROUND nine Rising Star nominee Colby McKercher's week has taken a turn for the worse with the exciting 19-year-old being laid low with bone stress in his right foot.

McKercher will miss the Kangaroos' clash with Essendon, with the club saying his return beyond this week will depend on his symptoms and progress.

Taken with the second overall pick in the 2023 National Draft, McKercher has impressed throughout the season and looks a key part of North Melbourne's rise up the ladder.

He has averaged over 20 touches a game and, along with Zane Duursma, has added to a growing stable of young guns at Alastair Clarkson's disposal.

North is hoping to regain Jy Simpkin after the co-captain missed the round nine loss to Gold Coast with quad tightness.