FATHER-SON prospect Tex Wanganeen is targeting a return to the field in August after a navicular stress fracture threw a major curveball into his draft year.
Wanganeen, who is the son of AFL great and 1993 Brownlow medallist Gavin, is eligible to join both clubs his father starred for – Essendon and Port Adelaide.
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But the 17-year-old's hopes to impress early this season have been hit by the serious foot injury, which will see him miss at least half of the year.
Wanganeen, who moved to Melbourne last year to board at Xavier College and be a part of the Oakleigh Chargers' NAB League squad, recently spent weeks at Essendon as part of the club's father-son program.
"It's an incomplete stress fracture so it's just overuse and stress-related. They got it early which is good, so he's got to be in the moonboot for 10 weeks," said his father Gavin, who played in premierships for both the Bombers and Power.
"After that he has six weeks on crutches full non-weightbearing, and then another four weeks in the moonboot but partially putting weight through it. It's a gradual, slow build-up and rehab process. They can be tricky injuries."
Tom Hird, the son of former Essendon great James Hird and Wanganeen's premiership teammate at Essendon, suffered a similar injury last year but has impressed on the track this season, which has given the younger Wanganeen confidence about his recovery.
"It's a bit of a shame for the young fella in his draft year but he'll get back to playing in August. I'm sure he'll do the cross-training really well and have some decent learnings from it in terms of the professionalism you need with decent rehab and how you have to train harder to come back," Wanganeen said.
Tex Wanganeen was one of four father-son prospects to be at Essendon as the Bombers rejoined training in January, alongside Alex Hird (son of James), Josh Misiti (son of Joe) and Nyawi Moore (son of Nathan Lovett-Murray).
Port Adelaide also keeps in contact with the small forward as a member of its father-son program, with both clubs able to nominate him as a father-son if they wish.
"He enjoyed [being at Essendon] and being exposed to that professional environment with the other father-son boys. He made some really good friends and it opened his eyes in terms of the professionalism and the standards that you need to have to be an AFL footballer so it was good exposure for him," Wanganeen said.