WEST Australian Marlion Pickett's AFL dream is almost certainly on hold, after he underwent surgery on Saturday night to repair a freshly broken finger that had already ruined his season.
One of Perth's best hand surgeons, Dr Jeff Ecker, operated on Pickett's right index finger and inserted a small wire into it, and the midfielder is expected to miss between eight and 10 weeks.
The injury isn't expected to give the 27-year-old any ongoing problems once the break at the tip of his finger heals but it will likely mean he will be overlooked in Monday's NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
Essendon and Richmond were among the teams to show interest in Pickett, who was also previously courted by Gold Coast, Collingwood and St Kilda.
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It was the dual South Fremantle club champion's second game this season, having spent the first five rounds recovering from a break to the same index finger.
The news follows Coburg forward Sam Lowson, one of the draft's most hyped players, sustaining a lower-leg injury in his VFL club's 77-point defeat to Geelong, also on Saturday.
A Coburg spokesperson told AFL.com.au the decision to bring Lowson from the field in the final term was a precautionary move that also owed to the lopsided scoreboard.
The 23-year-old, whose two goals gave him 16 in seven matches this year, is likely to undergo scans to rule out a serious injury, but he was weight-bearing on his sore leg post-match.
Another mid-season draft hopeful, Subiaco onballer Josh Deluca, sat out his side's WAFL contest on Saturday because of hamstring soreness.
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Lowson was mentioned as a potential No.1 candidate several weeks ago, but Carlton, which will pick first on Monday, is expected to go in a different direction.
Melbourne, Sydney and North Melbourne have expressed interest in the physical goalsneak and will all draft within the first five selections.
Deluca and raw Eastern Ranges prospect Cody Hirst are also being linked to the Blues, while Gippsland and Footscray midfielder Kyle Dunkley is another option but may instead end up at Gold Coast.
Hirst, Dunkley and Dandenong's Mitch Riordan – another 'over-ager' in the mix thanks to good NAB League form – aren't taking any risks, electing to sit out Victorian under-18 trials on Sunday.
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AFL clubs are eligible for the Mid-Season Rookie Draft if they left a spot open from last year's drafts or created one by placing an injured or retired player on the inactive list.
Similarly, sides can promote a Category B rookie to the primary list when a teammate is put on the long-term injury list.
For example, Sydney moved retired pair Kurt Tippett and Heath Grundy onto the inactive list to open two vacancies, whereas Nick Smith is on the long-term injury list, so a Category B rookie can be promoted.
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Players placed on the inactive or long-term injury list can return to the field this season, so long as they are replaced.
One option is for the Category B rookie to return to their previous status, which doesn't allow them to play in the AFL, or switching the fit-again player with another long-term injured footballer.
There is also Collingwood's situation, where it applied for Lynden Dunn to go on the long-term injury list and promoted Category B rookie Jack Madgen, who played on Friday night.
The Magpies could demote Madgen again then move Dunn onto the inactive list to create a list vacancy and enable them to make a selection on Monday.
The 2019 NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft will be broadcast LIVE on AFL.com.au, the AFL Live Official App and Fox Footy from 6.30pm AEST on Monday, May 27