ESSENDON'S misery has continued, with captain Jobe Watson ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
Watson hurt his shoulder in the Bombers' loss to Hawthorn in round 13, and struggled in his 200th game last week, gathering just nine disposals in Essendon's 110-point loss.
The club says the 30-year-old suffered more damage against the Saints, and is now likely to miss the rest of the season as he nurses the injury.
"It's disappointing any time, especially given the season isn’t going the way we would have hoped," Watson said.
"When you can't be out there to help rectify it, it's disappointing."
Watson spent large parts of the match against the Saints in the forward line.
"He went into the game with a shoulder injury and aggravated it very early," club doctor Bruce Reid said.
"That of course seriously affected his form.
"His MRI unfortunately shows that he has an unstable shoulder and has significant damage."
It is the second season in a row the 2012 Brownlow medallist has missed a large chunk of the year, with a "very uncommon" hip injury forcing him to miss 10 weeks last year.
He has played 12 games and averaged 24 disposals this season, down on his regular output as one of the competition's most prolific and damaging midfielders.
Watson joins ruckman Tom Bellchambers, forward Jake Carlisle and speedster Travis Colyer as some of the club's most important players on the sidelines, having been without key midfield pair Heath Hocking and David Myers for the whole season.
With just four wins in the first 14 rounds, the Bombers face a challenging end to the season without their captain, including clashes with top-four hopefuls Richmond and Collingwood.