CARLTON ruckman Matthew Kreuzer could be sidelined for up to four months after landing awkwardly in a ruck contest against Richmond in the season-opener.

Scans confirmed Kreuzer has fractured his fifth metatarsal and is expected to miss 16 weeks.

Tom De Koning and Marc Pittonet will now battle to grab the No.1 ruck role, with Blues coach David Teague believing competition for spots will be hot.

TIGERS TAME BLUES Full match coverage and stats

"We're pretty lucky at the moment, we've got Marc Pittonet and Tom De Koning who were both close. We were umm-ing and ahh-ing who we went for in the ruck this week," Teague said post-game.

"In the past, we've probably been hands-down in playing 'Kreuz'. But at the moment, we've got some real competition for that spot. I've got no doubt those two boys will be going at it this week if Kreuz is no good."

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Blue blow as big man goes down

Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer in the hands of trainers after this clash in the ruck duel

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The news is better for key forward Charlie Curnow, who had surgery to remove wires in his kneecap this week.

Carlton's director of high performance Andrew Russell says the procedure now allows him to get right into his rehabilitation.

WEIRD NIGHT Season kicks off in silence

"When he originally hurt his kneecap, the surgeon put wires in his knee to strength it up and help with the heal," Russell said.

"Until they came out, we really couldn't do a lot of strength work with his quad."

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Highlights: Richmond v Carlton

The Tigers and Blues clash in round one

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