NORTH Melbourne key defender Sam Durdin has suffered another blow on the eve of a make-or-break season, with a finger injury suffered in a random home mishap expected to sideline him for up to 10 weeks.
A North spokesperson told AFL.com.au on Wednesday Durdin had suffered a deep cut to his little finger when a knife he was using to open a packet of food slipped.
The spokesperson said Durdin was not expected to return to full training for eight to 10 weeks.
Durdin's injury is the latest in a series of setbacks to hit North's key defensive stocks ahead of the Roos' round one clash against Fremantle and its newly assembled raft of tall forwards.
The Roos were already facing being without all three of their first-choice key defenders from 2018 – Scott Thompson (suspension), Majak Daw (hips/pelvis) and Robbie Tarrant, who is racing to be fit after AC joint surgery last week – and Durdin's injury severely limits their replacement options.
If Tarrant is ultimately ruled unfit for the Dockers clash, North could be forced to send raw youngsters Ben McKay and Declan Watson to man the likes of Jesse Hogan (injury permitting), Rory Lobb and Matt Taberner.
North has been exploring bringing in a state league defender under the new pre-season supplemental selection rules, an option that must become even more appealing now.
Durdin's hand was in a cast when he arrived at GMHBA Stadium on Wednesday morning ahead of North's practice match against Geelong, with the 22-year-old later training on an adjoining oval with Roos' rehabilitation group.
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Durdin's finger injury follows the broken right tibia he suffered last July, which had previously kept him out of North's main training group this summer.
The 22-year-old is due to come out of contract at the end of this season and his push to extend his career at Arden St will be handicapped by his delayed start to the year.
The Kangaroos' first selection in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft at No.16 overall, Durdin has played nine senior games in four seasons, including just one in 2018.